Smartphones are crucial to modern life. They are our communications platform, our entertainment hub, and our most-used utility. They are our constant companions. Until recently, smartphones have missed out on deep integration into what is usually our second biggest investment: Cars. The big trend in automotive tech lately has been integrating them seamlessly with the car’s head unit either via Apple’s CarPlay or Google’s Android Auto. The only problem? You had to buy a new car or a rather expensive (and at times complicated to install) head unit to use these new features!
Rolling out over the next couple of weeks¹, Android Auto’s new update brings an Android Auto experience to any Android 5.0+ device. This means that what used to be a very small market for Android Auto enabled apps now becomes a huge market of roughly 60% of the Android users in the world. That’s over a billion users worldwide²! Included in the update is an Android Auto interface built with driving in mind; with larger, easier to touch elements and the ability to start Android Auto’s driving mode when connected to your car’s bluetooth.
The Android Auto UI ties together media playback, navigation, and messaging from supported apps into a safe to use and easy to understand dashboard. Android Auto already works with the multiple apps, from Play Music to Google Maps. If you have an app that plays media, sends messages, or could use Voice Actions to get more done, Google has made it possible to use these features on Android Auto without much fuss.
As developers, we’re really excited about bringing more intuitive experiences to every aspect of life, including the morning commute. Keeping drivers safe while still allowing apps to keep them connected is the key to integrating smartphones into the car in a meaningful way. This was true of Android Auto before, but now it also applies to over a billion users. Android Auto is a great way to bring quality app experiences into the car without getting in the way.
2 - According to the 1.8B global Android market share: “Installed base of smartphones by operating system in 2015 (in million units)”. Statistica. https://www.statista.com/statistics/385001/smartphone-worldwide-installed-base-operating-systems/