As many people figured out the hard way, Android Auto hasn’t received a lot of love in the last few years, and the only major update that it received was in the summer of 2019 when Google finally introduced a massive overhaul with an interface update and new features.
But since then, users have been struggling with tons of bugs and the lack of new functionality despite all the feedback that has been sent in this regard.
And now everything is changing.
Earlier this year, Apple finally refreshed CarPlay, announcing at the WWDC that it’s preparing an important update that includes not only wallpapers and a bunch of new features, but also support for more app categories, including tools aimed at drivers of EVs. This is something that makes total sense, as electric vehicles are more common these days, yet the apps that their drivers turned to were not supported on CarPlay.
Google is now looking into a similar update for Android Auto, but the search giant doesn’t just stick with new app categories. It wants its entire push to be refreshed, and it’s doing this on two separate fronts.
First of all, it’s Android Auto, the app that so many people turn to in their cars – statistics show that Android has an 80 percent global market share in the mobile market, so it’s no surprise most drivers have a phone running Google’s OS.
Google doesn’t want to be left behind when it comes to the migration to new tech, so it’s also bringing new app categories to Android Auto, including EV tools but also navigation apps. This is a smart strategy, as despite opening up Android Auto for more navigation solutions, it’s pretty clear that most people would just stick with Google Maps. So Google’s making a smart move here, as it’s opening the door for others but without actually losing anything.
Furthermore, it’s updating Android Auto with features that users have been requesting for many months already. Calendar integration and settings right on the car screen are both on their way to Android Auto, and they should launch in September.
But second of all, while Android Auto is a solution that’s available to more people, Google is also trying to win the car market with a different product. It’s Android Automotive OS, the platform that can run without a smartphone and which carmakers can install on their head units for a more genuine Android experience out of the box.
Google is working with manufacturers to bring the system to more of their models, and Renault, GM, and Volvo have already confirmed the adoption of Android Automotive OS.
At the same time, the search giant knows that manufacturers installing this solution on their hardware wouldn’t mean anything without apps, so it’s providing devs with the necessary tools to code for the platform. Media apps are now the first focus, but expect additional improvements in this regard too.
Google has suddenly become very committed to its Android strategy in cars, and right now, it’s very likely to win the battle simply because competition in this side of the market isn’t as fierce as it should be. Apple itself should notice the opportunity to grow bigger here, so now everybody’s waiting for the Cupertino-based firm to make its move.