The CES is increasingly becoming an auto show, and despite its physical absence from Las Vegas, Google also had a lot of new things to report about Android Auto these days. New hardware makes wireless connections easier, plus many new functions.
The retrofit solution for wireless Google Auto
Even after years of availability and a respectable distribution, Android Auto is still curiously complicated in some places. One of the big points of criticism: Wireless connections between smartphone and car are only possible with an astonishingly manageable number of appropriately equipped vehicles and require at least Android 11. So far, the rest has only been able to connect via a USB cable.
As Phonearena writes, the CES 2022 will finally bring a retrofit solution, which does not come from Google itself. Rather, SGW Global has introduced a wireless car adapter for Android Auto under the licensed brand name Motorola. The product with the name MA1 relies on “technology licensed by Google” to solve a simple task: “With the Motorola MA1, you no longer have to connect your phone to the infotainment system of your vehicle every time,” says the company. Motorola MA1 features include:
- Fast media transfer (5 GHz WiFi for Android Auto wireless)
- Direct USB connection to existing Android Auto-enabled vehicles
- Fast automatic connection via bluetooth
While the Google car dongle eliminates the problems on the vehicle side, a “compatible smartphone” with at least Android 11 is still required for use. In addition, the freedom from cables must be worth around 80 euros. The manufacturer speaks of a start of availability from the end of January.
Car keys and deep integration
On the software side, Google has announced its Blog post indicating that Android devices can now also be used as car keys. Here, too, the availability initially remains very limited. Unlocking via smartphone is currently only possible with selected Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel models in conjunction with a few BMW models. Later this year, however, more Android phones and vehicles will support the function.
Google then puts a special exclamation mark behind the expanded options offered by vehicles that integrate the Group’s car software and technology directly into the onboard systems. Here, too, the features presented are initially limited to a showcase project with Volvo, but should be more widely available later.
An adapted YouTube app will be available for Volvo models “later this year”, which will provide entertainment when the vehicle is parked. Google is making every effort to persuade other providers to adapt their apps and is currently citing examples of navigation apps such as Sygic and Flitsmeister as well as the charging apps ChargePoint and PlugShare.
Last but not least, Volvo is trying to improve the remote control for Android Auto. This makes it possible, for example, to preheat the car via Google Assistant or to query the charge status of the battery. “This will initially be introduced in selected Volvos, with more to follow,” said the developers.
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