Google finally officially showed off its answer to Apple’s CarPlay. It displayed at its Google I/O conference Wednesday “Android Auto,” which projects the apps from your Android phone onto the car radio and gives you touch screen, voice and some steering wheel control over the app.
The first cars with Android Auto radios will roll off the assembly line before the end of the year. And 40 car companies have now joined Google’s alliance for Android Auto (Open Automotive Alliance) representing about 25 car brands. (See photo).
Android Auto automatically knows when you are in your car. You see a screen with three simple functions: navigation, communication, and music. You can put your phone aside when in the car and see these functions on the radio screen with the same familiar touch screen controls as on your phone, said Patrick Brady, Director of Engineering for Android.
Google showed off a few functions using voice control. You can ask Android Auto what time a museum closes and then ask to navigate to that museum and directions appear on the screen.
If you are navigating and a text comes in, it shows up as a heads up message and you can use the steering wheel controls for voice to reply.
Music and audio services for Android Auto include iHeartRadio, Pandora, tunein, Spotify, and Stitcher.
An SDK kit allowing developers to produce apps for Android Auto will be available soon.
You can watch the segment on Android Auto here https://www.google.com/events/io. The Android Auto segment is about 1 hour and 35 minutes into the video.