We first heard about Android Auto, Google’s foray into the automobile world, back at Google I/O 2014. While we’ve heard a ton of companies announce their plans to eventually make aftermarket head units, it’s taken quite awhile for Google to get the OS out to consumers. With that said, now consumers can finally get their chance to experience Auto for themselves, because Google has just published the Android Auto app to the Play Store.
The Android Auto app will allow you to listen to music, navigate using Google Maps, and a few other functions we’ve known about for awhile now. If you’re interested, here’s the full app description from the Play Store:
- Navigation with Google Maps – Free turn-by-turn navigation with lane guidance, live traffic conditions, points of interest, and more
- Hands-free phone and messaging – Make calls and send messages without taking your hands off the wheel
- Info and assistance – Get weather, traffic, commute information and more organized into simple cards
- Bring your music – Listen to your music and playlists in the car with your built-in stereo system
To make the app work, you’ll need to have a device running Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher, and you’ll need an Android Auto-compatible aftermarket head unit. Pioneer is the first manufacturer to bring its Android Auto head units to market, and so far the company has a number of units for sale in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. If you live in one of those areas and would like some more information, visit Pioneer’s website here.
Developers can now begin to push their Android Auto apps to Google Play for review. Google has made a handy Android Auto section in the Play Store for apps that can run on aftermarket head units. Applications in the list so far include Spotify, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, Google Play Music and many more.
We’ve scored some hands-on time with a number of different Android Auto head units in the past. Google first showed it off at I/O last year, and we even got some insight on Hyundai’s plans for the OS at CES 2015. We’ll certainly have more coverage for you as more head units become available. But for now, check out the videos below for some more info.
It might be awhile before most consumers can get their hands on a head unit. Even so, Google publishing the official app is a nice move forward. If you’d like to check out the Android Auto app for yourself, head to the Play Store link below.