If you use Google’s Android Auto software, you’ll be glad to know that you can now access its features on your smartphone with its version 2.0 app.
Android Auto (also known as AA) was released on March 2015 with the goal of integrating phones and cars, but it took Google almost two years to make this mission a reality. Still, despite being long overdue, the updated app is welcomed by many people, particularly those who have older cars that aren’t compatible with AA and those who own vehicles without a car display.
When you download and launch Android Auto 2.0 in your smartphone, you’ll be greeted with a display that’s more suited to driving. The app pulls all the necessary apps and services into one place, making them easily accessible when you’re on the wheel. Information is presented in big cards and options can be selected using large buttons — both of which help you access the details you need without getting distracted by things that aren’t essential to driving.
Through Android Auto 2.0, you can use your phone to get turn-by-turn directions to your destination through Google Maps. You can also listen to music through Pandora, Spotify, or Google Play Music and make your journey more enjoyable and less stressful.
Google has confirmed that support for hands-free commands will come to the app within the next few weeks. Through these commands, you can easily access maps, listen to your favorite playlist, make a call, and even send text messages simply by saying “OK Google”. It’s a great way to get things done when you’re driving without having to take your eyes off the road.
Android Auto 2.0 has the ability to automatically turn on when an external Bluetooth device connects with your smartphone. This means that, if your car has Bluetooth capability, you can configure AA to launch as soon as you get inside your vehicle. This helps you save time and ensure that Android Auto is there whenever you need it.
Google points out that users can put their smartphones on any car mount. If you don’t have one, though, you might want to check out Bluetooth-enabled car mounts, such as the Logitech SmartCar Dash Mount and the Logitech’s SmartCar Vent Mount (both are available on the Google Store). If you have one of these products, it will automatically connect with your phone as soon as you place it on the mount, triggering Android Auto 2.0 to launch right away. The app will also automatically close when you remove your phone from the mount.
It’s important to note that the Android Auto 2.0 app is available only in countries that support AA. Currently, there are only 31 countries that do so, including Australia, Canada, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Brazil, the UK, and the U.S. If you live in one of these countries, you can sign up at android.com/auto/#keepmeposted to get an email when the app becomes available for your phone.
Google states that Android Auto 2.0 will be released “in the coming days”. Those who can’t wait to get their hands on the app can download the APK from Google Play Store.