A New Google Maps Alternative Launches on Android Auto With a Big Catch

Wain on Android Auto 7 photos
Photo: Wain
Wain on iPhoneWain on iPhoneWain on iPhoneWain on iPhoneWain on iPhoneWain on iPhone
Google Maps and Waze might be the preferred navigation choices for most Android users, but the battle in this space is certainly getting fiercer.
More companies investing in navigation software understand that Android Auto is where they must be, as offering turn-by-turn navigation on the infotainment screen makes it easier for drivers to use their apps.

Wain, an application whose navigation component is specifically focused on Qatar, announced its plans to step into the Android Auto world in late 2019. The parent company moved fast, and this week, it announced that this highly anticipated feature is ready for prime time.

The latest Wain version adds support for Android Auto, joining the existing CarPlay support introduced last year. The application will show navigation on the bigger screen in the cabin, along with speed camera locations and warnings as you drive.

With these features, Wain steps into Waze's territory, providing users with alerts related to speed cameras, though it doesn't include the same number of hazards as Google's app. However, Wain also sports real-time traffic information, parking data, local POIs, and roadside assistance.

Given its limited coverage, Wain can serve as a Google Maps alternative only locally, with users in other countries having no option but to stick with other navigation software. The exclusive Qatar focus also limits Wain's reach, with the Google Play Store statistics indicating the app has over 100K downloads.

You need at least Android 7 to install the app, but for Android Auto, you must run Android 8 or newer. Wireless Android Auto requires newer operating system versions, depending on your mobile device.

You don't have to do anything special to get Wain on Android Auto. Once you install the latest update (which includes Android Auto support), the app's icon should appear in the app drawer on the infotainment screen.

Meanwhile, Google Maps is also getting new features on Android Auto, including support for parking locations. With this option, users can see where they park their car and receive step-by-step walking directions from the configured address to the location. The feature comes in handy, particularly when the parking location is different from the navigation destination, allowing Google Maps to become the navigation companion even when the user steps out of the vehicle.

Google is also introducing a 3D building layer in Google Maps for navigation, as the company wants the route guidance to be more straightforward when driving in unfamiliar regions. The new features will debut later this year alongside other Android Auto improvements, including support for phone wallpapers and synchronization for the default icon pack on the mobile device.

Google didn't share specific ETAs, so you should keep Android Auto up-to-date to get the latest improvements when they begin rolling out.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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