What else could Google do with Android Auto? We discuss three things that can be improved about the smart in-car control system. We are talking about the availability of the wireless variant and the version for telephone screens, among other things.
Android Wireless Upgrade
In 2018, Google launched Android Auto Wireless. You can use this to connect your phone to your car via Bluetooth, so there is no longer a need for a USB-C cable. Not everyone is excited about that cable that is always connected. Depending on the location of your USB-C connection, it can get in the way and there is not always a place in every car to neatly put your phone away.
It is therefore not surprising that we have recently seen a lot of crowdfunding projects funding a gadget to make Android Auto wireless. Examples include the AAWireless, Ottocast, and Cardiff. Cassis can connect two phones, while Ottocast also supports Apple CarPlay at the same time. If you were to switch from an Android phone to an iPhone, your wireless car connection will continue to work.
These gadgets generally get good feedback, but we’d also like to see Google itself pay more attention to a wireless Android Auto experience. For example, the company could release an official gadget that would essentially upgrade your in-car infotainment system to Android Auto Wireless. We think there is little chance that this device will actually come out, but if it does, it would probably sell like hotcakes.
Focus on Stability
Let’s be honest. Those who use Android Auto are usually happy to be able to use this software. You get access to up-to-date navigation and your favorite media apps in the car. Still, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s not the most stable software experience. Errors and lag are unfortunately more common than we would like.
There were already problems with Google Assistant commands, playing music and using Maps navigation. Not to mention possible problems that could be related to specific car models. Don’t get us wrong, we’re happy with the number of updates Android Auto is getting, but they still come with bugs too often.
We would therefore like to see Android Auto provide a more stable user experience in the long run. If this requires Google, for example, to set stricter hardware requirements for infotainment systems, then so be it. Streamlining the experience may be more important than rolling out new features for the software.
Android Auto for Phones
When I bought my first car nine years ago, I opted for a cheaper model without an infotainment system. After all, Android Auto also worked on phone screens, so I could enjoy convenient navigation and media controls without spending more money.
If you reason today as I did then, you will be disappointed. Google has in fact pulled a line through the Android Auto app for phone screens, and strangely enough, the company did that without an alternative ready. It is still waiting for the major rollout of Google Assistant Driving Mode. Hopefully this somewhat strange situation will soon change.