Android Auto : an introduction

Recently Google announced Android auto, which is Android for your Car. Google has had a partnership with the open automobile alliance which means we should see Auto in cars produced by Nissan, Honda and Ford among many others. Although Auto might not be what you think it is.

Android Auto does not mean that your Car will now run Android in fact it wont run any operating system at all. In order for you to use the Auto functionality you will need and an Android based device running Android L, as there are no devices running L yet we have yet to see this in action.

The way that Auto will work will be that the screen in the car usually reserved for the inbuilt functions such as media, Car data and Sat nav will be just that, a screen. The Android part won’t come in until you connect a compatible Android device, via USB. Therefore if you don’t have an Android L based device then there’s no Auto for you.

Android Auto announced

Photo Android Auto

Currently Google have announced that there will be support for in Car GPS hardware which will improve the GPS functionality for you device, Steering wheel controls such as indication (will just show that you are indicating and won’t actually allow you to indicate from Android), Sound system control (volume and outputs as is standard on a car), Wheel speed (works out how fast you are going), compass (if the car has one). Features under development include car data so you can see things such as the estimated range, fuel consumption and all the other standard dash panel data.

Also another feature supposed to be included is support for in car mobile antennas in order to increase your mobile reception while in car, although this feature has not yet been confirmed.

The main compliant so far has been that the Android device has to be connected to the system via a USB cable and as far as we know there are no plans to allow the device to connect via bluetooth or even Wifi. Also there is no information on what will happen when you don’t have an Android device, weather the screen will just be blank or weather some other system will kick in like a normal car. If the screen stays blank then this could either boots L based Android device sales or cause a slump in car sales from the alliance.

Over in the Apple camp we seam to have exactly the same thing going on with their announcement of car play although from the information that we have it seams to be exactly the same system as Auto, although Car play was announced first at Apple’s WWDC. Car play does have a 1 up on Auto as they support devices with iOS 7.1+ so this means that some older devices will also work unlike Auto which requires L. Companies like pioneer have announced that they will provide firmware updates for some of their devices to include the Car play functionality which so far has not been the case for Auto.

About Bertil Hansen
I am the owner and main contributor to this website. Throughout the years I've owned an embarrassing number of Android phones. Too many to mention in fact. Lets just say it started with the HTC legend and I'm now on the Galaxy Note 4.

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