You can now download Android Auto 2.0 standalone app APK to run the software directly on your phone without needing any new car or aftermarket display unit.
You may or may not remember, but Google previously promised a version of Android Auto that would run entirely on smartphones and not require a new vehicle or aftermarket display that would then be fitted to a previously unsupported vehicle. That was essentially a version of Android Auto running directly on Android-powered smartphones, and now, Google has officially confirmed that this support is now available for anyone running Android 5.0 or higher to interact with.
It may not seem like a particularly revolutionary release, but it represents a huge step forward for the Android Auto platform purely for the fact that it can be used right on the display of an Android device, which of course can be taken into any vehicle, regardless of age, or make or model.
This latest Android Auto app (version 2.0) is essentially an updated version of the software that Google had previously shown off during its annual developer event in spring. It features a tabbed interface with four icons along the bottom for access to Maps, Phone app, Music, as well as a large but familiar-looking Home button that works in exactly the same way that you’d expect it to on any Android device.
Having this functionality allows the owner of a non-supported vehicle to instantly benefit from what Google is calling the “key stuff” we all need on the road; directions, music and communications. It’s also compatible instantly with all of the 500 or so apps that have previously brought Android Auto support, meaning services like Spotify and WhatsApp are supported right out of the box, so to speak.
The app can also be set to launch automatically whenever the phone connects to a Bluetooth entertainment unit in the car, or when placed in a dashboard dock embedded with Bluetooth.
In addition to all that, Google is also enhancing hands-free functionality with support for always-on “Ok Google” coming soon.
The Android Auto app is free to download, and works with all devices running Android 5.0 or higher. Interested parties can sign-up to receive an alert for when the update is available for their phone at www.android.com/auto/#keepmeposted in their region.
Don’t want to wait for the official rollout? Or live in an unsupported region? You can grab the APK of Android Auto 2.0 right now from here and sideload-install it on your Android 5.0+ device.