Google Allowing More Apps on Android Auto Is Huge News, Here’s Why

Android Auto is getting a major overhaul with more app categories 9 photos
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If anyone needed additional proof that Google is very committed to improving the experience with Android Auto on all fronts, here’s the announcement that lots of users have been waiting for.
The search company has decided to open up the platform to another app category, allowing developers to create utilities that would allow users to control their smart homes.

IoT apps are now supported on Android Auto and Android Automotive, and the first release to take advantage of this new feature is already on its way.

Android Auto currently supports just a handful of app categories, including media apps (such as the like of Spotify and YouTube Music), messaging apps (including not only the native Android offering but also Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and others), navigation software, and POI utilities. Starting with this anticipated update to the Car App Library, the list is being expanded with the addition of Internet of Things apps.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out why this is really big news for the future of Android Auto and how the new capabilities would make the in-car experience more convenient.

With IoT app support, users can control their smart homes right from Android Auto, so they can do things like opening and closing the garage door, turning the lights on and off, and controlling all the other sensors. All they need is for app developers to add Android Auto support, but this is most likely just a matter of time anyway.

The developers of Home Assistant, for example, are already working on adding such capabilities to their app, and the most recent beta release already provides users with a glimpse into how the whole thing is going to work. The stable build is scheduled to go live in the next two weeks.

Google explains that the support for IoT apps on Android Auto comes with a series of obvious restrictions. For example, these apps shouldn’t allow users to run tasks related to app setup, creation or modification of scenes or routines, or fine-grained device control. In other words, the apps shouldn’t allow anything that could distract the driver.

On the other hand, such software can allow the driver to view the current state of devices (for example, the user can check if a garage door is open or closed), provide one-touch features to control the IoT devices, and notify users about events in configured locations. As such, you could get notifications on Android Auto when your smart vacuum cleaner has finished the cleaning, just like you do today on a mobile device.

All these capabilities are expected to come to Android Auto in the coming months, and given the first app is already on its way to the car, it’s probably just a matter of time until the IoT support gains more traction behind the wheel.
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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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