Android Auto for Phones Is Dead, Long Live the All-New Driving Mode

What was only a rumor is now official, as Google has confirmed that it’s finally replacing Android Auto for phones with the all-new driving mode bundled with the Google Assistant app on Android 12.
Android Auto for phones 6 photos
Photo: Google Play Store
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In other words, the Mountain View-based search giant has started the retirement of Android Auto for phones, and instead, users will be pointed to the driving mode powered by Google Assistant and offering Google Maps as the preferred navigation app.

The transition was originally noticed earlier this week on Android 12, and Google has confirmed the release of the upcoming operating system will spearhead this effort of directing users to the new driving mode.

What the company hasn’t said, however, is whether the driving mode is ready for everybody else on older versions of Android too, as right now, this new feature is only offered as a preview in a bunch of countries, including the United States.

But without a doubt, this is a gradual transition whose purpose is to sunset Android Auto for phones, just like the company announced some two years ago when it officially announced the driving mode.

Google Assistant driving mode is our next evolution of the mobile driving experience. For the people who use Android Auto in supported vehicles, that experience isn’t going away. For those who use the on phone experience (Android Auto mobile app), they will be transitioned to Google Assistant driving mode. Starting with Android 12, Google Assistant driving mode will be the built-in mobile driving experience. We have no further details to share at this time,” Google said in a statement.

If Android Auto for phones is already installed on your phone, the app should continue to work just like before, but on the other hand, some users out there claim they’re no longer allowed to install the app from the Google Play Store. Sideloading it is currently the only workaround known to exist, but of course, once the app is retired, no further updates would be released.
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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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