Full Weather App Launches on Android Auto As Google Ignores a Top Feature Request

Android Auto Coolwalk screen 16 photos
Photo: Google
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The Android Auto app ecosystem keeps growing, and the latest addition is an application that addresses a feature gap Google keeps ignoring.
MyRadar has recently received support for Android Auto, bringing full weather information to the infotainment screen. The application debuted on CarPlay in January, with the parent company claiming an Android Automotive version is also in the works.

The feature lineup

MyRadar on Android Auto
Photo: MyRadar via 9to5Google
While full weather apps aren't new in the Android Auto world, MyRadar promises an intriguing feature lineup that includes a radar and the company's innovative RouteCast system.

RouteCast is a weather forecast component that analyzes your route to provide more advanced insight into weather conditions as you drive to the destination.

RouteCast doesn't look only at the expected weather temperature and the estimated conditions but also at other factors, including road temperature, cross-wind alerts, and other potential hazards. It can calculate your drive time based on all this data, providing forecast updates every 15 minutes.

The parent company promises to closely monitor every point and route segment, eventually offering departure time suggestions based on expected weather for the configured route.

It means MyRadar will let you configure a route and define a desired arrival time. Once the application determines weather changes that could impact the ETA, such as heavy weather or a snowstorm (when you're expected to encounter slowdowns or reduced travel speed).

However, the weather radar and warnings are available in the free version of the app, while RouteCast can be had only by paying for the premium package.

AAOS version also coming

Android Auto Coolwalk
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
The parent company says MyRadar has also been enrolled in the Android Early Access Program, meaning an Android Automotive (AAOS) version is already on the radar.

Android Automotive is Google's embedded operating system aimed at cars. Compared to Android Auto, AAOS doesn't require a mobile device to run, as the operating system is installed at the hardware level to power the infotainment system.

MyRadar didn't share specifics to reveal when the Android Automotive version could launch, but I expect further information later this year.

With the Android Auto and CarPlay versions, MyRadar has become more committed to delivering weather information to drivers, especially as RouteCast fits the experience behind the wheel like a glove. After the AAOS release, I expect MyRadar to also work on a CarPlay 2.0 version.

The new-generation CarPlay will debut on the first vehicles later this year, and developers will certainly be in a rush to update their software to support Apple's reinvented car platform.

Weather information on Android Auto

Android Auto Coolwalk
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
While full weather apps launching on Android Auto are good news for the growing app ecosystem available in the car, it's also proof that Google shouldn't ignore what has become a top feature request.

The original Android Auto version sported a dedicated weather widget on the home screen, allowing users to view the current temperature and conditions when launching the app. The widget was fantastic for people whose infotainment systems didn't show weather information. Not everybody was excited to see it going dark when the new Android Auto version debuted in 2019.

Google listened to the user feedback and brought back weather information to Android Auto, albeit without a full widget. The current temperature and a weather condition icon landed on Android Auto in the status bar at the top of the screen, allowing users to view the information with a glance at the Android Auto UI.

It all changed when Google debuted the Coolwalk redesign last January. The multi-view app screen removed the status bar, with battery information, signal strength, and time moving to the lower part of the screen. The weather data was removed, with Google launching a dedicated card on the Coolwalk screen for temperature and conditions.

However, the weather card is exclusively available on portrait screens without supporting landscape infotainment units. I don't have any numbers, but it's safe to assume landscape displays dominate the infotainment space, so most Android Auto users were left without weather information.

Google promised to bring a weather card to the Coolwalk UI regardless of the aspect ratio, but the update is still nowhere to be seen. The company seemingly ignores this top feature request, making it impossible for a significant part of the Android Auto user base to access weather information.

It's why the debut of MyRadar on Android Auto is such a big deal. With these apps, users can access weather details that Google isn't interested in bringing behind the wheel.

Time will tell if Google decides to tackle this feature request, but the company already has the technical means to make it happen. The bar at the bottom of the screen has enough space for weather information, especially because fitting a dedicated card on the Coolwalk screen would make the interface more cluttered.

Google hasn't shared any updates on its work on this front, so you'd better not hold your breath for weather updates on Android Auto.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

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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