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Android Auto

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Android Auto wish list: Five things Google's infotainment system is still missing

Google unveiled Android Auto way back at I/O in 2014, but it didn't reach vehicles until May of 2015 when Hyundai added it to the Sonata. If you looked at Android Auto from 2015 and compared it to the current version, you'd see precious few differences. Google has been slow to improve Auto, but at least we got wireless projection. That tells us Google is still working on Android Auto, but it's still missing some features we've wanted ever since we got our first glimpse at Google's infotainment platform. Here are four features we still want to see in Android Auto.

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Android Auto Wireless is now enabled for Nexus and Pixel devices

Android Auto's Wireless mode was rumored for months before we got official confirmation of it. JVC and Kenwood introduced a total of 7 Auto head units with Wi-Fi connectivity as an option at this year's CES, but until now even if you just got one of these new units, you couldn't use the mode as your phone wasn't ready for that. Now Google has flipped the switch: wireless mode for Android Auto is enabled on Nexus and Pixel devices.

According to Cody's teardowns, version 3.0 of Auto was nearly ready for the Wireless mode, but it's v3.1 that's required (APK Mirror link) to get things properly working.

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[Update: Fix coming in June] Android Auto looks 'pixelated' for some, but Google is on the case

If your Android Auto head unit looks like it's been hit by a bad case of JPEG, you aren't alone. There have been some recent reports that Android Auto-powered systems are displaying "pixelated" blocky visuals. Thankfully for those affected, Google is working to fix things. 

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Android Auto lists five new aftermarket hardware partners

A few new certified hardware partners have appeared on the Android Auto website. All five new additions are aftermarket manufacturers—they make units that are installed after vehicles are purchased.

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[Update: Google confirms] Android Auto now allows phones to be unlocked while connected

The Android Auto team has been known to put safety above all else. Most people agree that's the best strategy, but there have been some scenarios where users have pointed out that certain decisions may be over-reaching, or they might not account for common scenarios. One of the biggest points of contention since the launch of Android Auto has been a feature that effectively locks users out of their phones while connected to Android Auto. In the last couple of days, users are now being presented with the ability to swipe up and unlock their phones to use them normally.

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Crankshaft turns a Raspberry Pi 3 and a touchscreen into an Android Auto head unit

Android Auto-compatible head units aren't too difficult to find these days, but they cost a pretty penny and usually won't fit properly in older cars. A developer created a solution called Crankshaft to address both of those issues, and all you need to make it a reality is a Raspberry Pi 3 and a touchscreen.

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[Deal Alert] Best Buy has the JVC KW-V830BT Android Auto/CarPlay head unit for $299 today only ($300 off MSRP)

If you're looking to add some Android Auto goodness to your car aftermarket-style, then Best Buy has the deal for you. Today only, the giant electronics retailer has the double-DIN 6.8" JVC KW-V830BT receiver with Auto and CarPlay for just $299, a whole $300 off the $599 MSRP. 

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[Update: Now available for $900] Alpine announces Android Auto head unit with a 'floating' 9-inch display

Alpine is on hand at CES to roll out yet another Android Auto head unit, but this one might be more appealing to those with limited dash space. The iLX-F309 has a big 9-inch LCD, but it doesn't need that much space available in your dash thanks to a wacky floating design. Yes, the image above shows CarPlay, but just pretend it's Android Auto.

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The 2018 Lamborghini Aventador S is the most expensive car you can get with Android Auto

The Lamborghini Aventador S is an engineering marvel, what with its 740-horsepower V12, all-wheel drive system, rear-wheel steering, and so on. It is getting a little long in the tooth now, thanks in part to its older single-clutch transmission, but Lamborghini added Apple CarPlay support to the Aventador S for the 2017 model year to spice things up a bit. For the 2018 model, Android Auto support is on board as well. At $417,650, that makes this the single most expensive car that supports Android Auto on the market.

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Android Auto v3.0 prepares to launch Wi-Fi projection support [APK Teardown]

Since the launch of Android Auto, drivers have been disappointed by the requirement to have their phones tethered to a cable. Not only was it inconvenient to plug in each time you got in the car, especially if you had a lot of quick stops to make, but it was also problematic when most cars didn't feed enough power through the designated port to keep phones from draining. Google finally let it slip that Wi-Fi support would be launched for Auto, and with the latest version, it looks like Google is just about ready to make it a reality.

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