Update 5/17/2018 at 3:55 P.M. EST: It turns out that non-Google devices running Android Oreo might also get to reap the benefits of a wireless Android Auto experience. However, it will likely only come to specific smartphones from specific vendors.
Kenwood — the popular car audio manufacturer — posted a press release detailing how wireless Android Auto will work with its current and future stereo systems. Today, it posted an addendum to the release that says Google is currently working with smartphone manufacturers to bring wireless Android Auto to phones running Android Oreo. Here’s the whole addendum:
In our press release below, we indicated that future smartphones would require Android 9.0 OS to be compatible with KENWOOD multimedia receivers that feature Wireless Android Auto™. Google has informed us that, in addition to 9.0 devices, the company is working with several smartphone manufacturers to bring wireless compatibility to devices with Android 8.0 OS. According to Google, this compatibility will be available on select non-Google smartphones soon.
So it looks like you might not have to upgrade to Android P (or buy a new phone) to use Android Auto wirelessly. Unfortunately, that’s all we know for now. We’ll keep you posted should we learn which devices will support the feature and when it will launch.
Original Article: Announced back in 2014 as a smartphone projection system for your car, Android Auto now lets you extend your smartphone’s capabilities to a car’s dashboard head unit. Unfortunately, it looks like your phone must run Android P if you want to wirelessly extend those capabilities.
Up until earlier this year, the only ways to get Android Auto up and running is to either connect your device to your car’s display or use the Android Auto app. During CES 2018, Google announced Android Auto Wireless, which forgoes the use of a cable and integrates wireless functionality within certain dashboard head units.
Kenwood is a manufacturer that makes some of those supported head units. In the company’s latest press release, however, 9to5Google spotted that non-Nexus/Pixel devices must run Android P for Android Auto Wireless to work.
Keep in mind that Nexus and Pixel devices must run Android 8.0 Oreo for compatibility with Android Auto Wireless. You also need the Android Auto app version 3.1 and up, as well as a cable for initial setup.
This does put a bit of a damper on those who use non-Nexus and Pixel devices and will likely not get Android P right away. Google’s Project Treble, along with various third-party devices supporting the Android P Beta, hope to speed up the update process. Still, manufacturers will take their sweet time with older devices
We expect to learn much more about Android Auto and Android P as Google I/O 2018 unfolds.