|Initial release||March 19, 2015|
|Operating system||Android 6.0+|
Once an Android device is paired with the head unit, the system can mirror some apps on the vehicle's display. Supported apps include GPS mapping and navigation, music playback, SMS, telephone, and Web search. The system supports both touchscreen and button-controlled head units; also available is hands-free operation through voice commands, which is recommended to reduce driver distraction.
The most common way Android Auto is deployed is via an Android mobile device running the Android Auto app, acting as a master to a vehicle's dashboard head unit that supports this functionality. Once the user's Android device is connected to the vehicle, the head unit will serve as an external display for the Android device, presenting supported software in a car-specific user interface provided by the Android Auto app. In Android Auto's first iterations, the device was required to be connected via USB to the car.
Alternatively, in November 2016, Google added the option to run Android Auto as a regular app on an Android device, i.e., not tethered to a car's head unit, which allows it to be used on Android-powered head units, or simply on a personal phone or tablet in the vehicle. In addition, on January 1, 2018, it was announced that JVCKenwood would be exhibiting wireless Android Auto-enabled head units at CES 2018, which would be capable of operating without the need for a wired connection.
As of June 2020, Android Auto is available in 36 countries.:
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- New Zealand
- Puerto Rico
- South Africa
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
- United States
- June 25, 2014: Android Auto debuted at Google I/O 2014.
- March 19, 2015: Android Auto was released.
- November 2016: Google added the option to run Android Auto as a regular app on an Android device.
- July 2019: Android Auto received its first major UI rework, which among other changes, brought an app drawer to Android Auto for the first time. Google also announced that the app's ability of being used on a phone would be discontinued in favor of Google Assistant's drive mode.
- December 2020: Google announced the expansion of Android Auto to 36 additional countries in Europe, Indonesia, and more.
An Android Auto SDK has been released, allowing third parties to modify their apps to work with Android Auto; initially, only APIs for music and messaging apps would be available, but it is expected that through Android Auto, the mobile device will have access to several of the automobile's sensors and inputs, such as GPS and high-quality GPS antennae, steering-wheel mounted buttons, the sound system, directional speakers, directional microphones, wheel speed, compass, mobile antennas, etc. Also, there is partial access to car data, a feature still under development.
Currently supported apps include Google Maps and Waze, popular music players such as Google Play Music, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Apple Music and Spotify; and messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Skype and Telegram.
Head unit support
In May 2015, Hyundai became the first manufacturer to offer Android Auto support, making it first available in the 2015 Hyundai Sonata. Automobile manufacturers that will offer Android Auto support in their cars include Abarth, Acura, Alfa Romeo, Audi, Bentley (will be coming soon), Buick, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ferrari, Fiat, Ford, GMC, Genesis, Holden, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar Land Rover, Jeep, Kia, Lamborghini, Lexus, Lincoln, Mahindra and Mahindra, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot, RAM, Renault, SEAT, Škoda, SsangYong, Subaru, Suzuki, Tata Motors Cars, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.
In May 2019, Italy filed an antitrust complaint targeting Android Auto, citing that a Google policy of only allowing third-party media and messaging apps on the platform prevented Enel from offering an app for locating vehicle charging stations.
As of August 2020, Google hasn't enabled third parties to integrate their mapping apps with Android Auto, only its own apps, Google Maps and Waze, being available.
Google announced a new SDK to be released to select partners in August 2020 and to be generally available by the end of 2020.
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