Gamesnacks announced that it would be bringing gaming to Android Auto head units while users are parked back in September, and during CES 2022 today, Google revealed that it’s now bringing several updates to the in-vehicle service for drivers. As we’ve previously discussed, the Ultra-wideband in Pixel and Samsung Galaxy phones will be able to unlock select BMW models later this year just by walking up to them, but now, let’s take a look at a few additional inbound features.
First, Lyft and Kakao Mobility will have their apps integrated into Android Auto later this summer, allowing drivers to view and accept rides right on their own head units, and without the need for mounting their phones to use the individual apps from each provider. Oh, and MochiMochi, Fuelio, and Prezzi Benzina’s apps will provide many points of interest, allow you to track fuel-ups, mileage, and more. The image below isn’t exactly how it will look when it launches, but it’s a mock-up provided by Google for demonstration purposes until then.
Since General Motors, Volvo Cars, and Polestar are gearing up to provide Android Auto in-vehicle via their dashboard head units, and since Google Play is built into Google’s infotainment service, Youtube will be available in your car by extension (Starting with Volvo Cars). However, the company is making sure to allow its use only when vehicles are placed in park. Depending on the aspect ratio of your unit though, it may look as terrible as the one below. Regardless, I’m sure most people would just be focused on the video itself in these less-than-ideal viewing circumstances.
More important to your experience though, is the fact that Play will allow you to install alternate navigation apps like Sygic, and Flitsmeister, parking apps like SpotHero, and more. This is the first time where we’ll see a truly complete and flexible driving experience with Google’s Android Auto, and that’s exciting!
Lastly, select Volvo Cars will be able to be locked, unlocked, and warmed up or cooled off using any Google Assistant-enabled device before you even leave the house in the morning. Also, you’ll be able to check the status of your vehicle’s battery – that’s pretty interesting. Ultimately, many of these features seem to be geared at newer cars, and that saddens me a bit. I think we’ll all transition to built-in displays one day, but I do feel it’s a decade or so off for the average consumer. Let me know if you can make use of these updates in your car!