Android Auto's download count over on the Play Store is positively exploding. In a mere four months, the app has gone from 500 million installs to over a billion. Only six months before that, it was at 100 million. That's an incredible order of magnitude of growth in less than a year.
BMW was one of the last automakers to add Android Auto to its vehicles, and owners with compatible cars still have to go to the dealer to get the update. That's changing soon, though; BMW has just announced that an over-the-air update will start rolling out "over the coming weeks."
Earlier this summer, Google announced new categories of apps coming to Android Auto, including navigation, parking, and electric vehicle charging apps. Starting today, developers everywhere can begin testing out these categories with the Android for Cars App Library open beta.
Google already has an in-car navigation UI in the form of Android Auto, as well as a future replacement in the form of the Assistant Driving Mode, but it seems to be implementing a very similar concept in Google Maps. We've seen music playback controls show up in Maps navigation before, but never the Android Auto-style buttons and home screen.
Boats use the same double-DIN head units that cars do, but it turns out that nobody had made an Android Auto unit for marine applications... until now. Boss Audio has just released a fully weatherproofed 6.75" 480p head unit capable of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and it's actually pretty affordable at $289.99.
Operating systems are incredibly complex pieces of software, so it's perhaps not too surprising that despite several beta releases, a few bugs snuck into the final release of Android 11. The update has apparently caused issues with Android Auto, leading to some drivers being unable to play music or read notifications.
While compatibility with wireless Android Auto is expanding on phones, there are still many in-car head units and media players that are stuck using tethered connections. That's where a device called 'AAWireless' comes in, which aims to add wireless support to as many Android Auto units as possible.
A new settings and setup interface for Android Auto has been spotted rolling out. The changes aren't too drastic, but they do make for a smoother and slightly more attractive workflow, featuring a more general "connect a car" prompt with separate options for wired and wireless setup that follow.
Android Auto has been getting more activity lately, including big changes like a return to calendar integration, and smaller adjustments that quietly pop up from time to time. If you regularly play music or podcasts, there's a chance you've already spotted the latest change that gives new track notifications a little more animation.