Just because the Google I/O 2016 keynote ended doesn’t mean that Google is done making announcements. Shortly after the keynote wrapped up, the company revealed that an upcoming update for the Android Auto app will bring the entire experience to the phone, allowing anyone to use the platform in their car.
Previously, Android Auto was only compatible with a few dozen car models, but the updated app will allow drivers to mount their phones in their cars and receive the same navigation and entertainment features that Android Auto would offer in a dashboard. In fact, the UI is even sleeker and more simplified on the phone.
In addition to allowing any Android handset to run the Auto interface, Google is also going to allow users to activate voice commands by saying ‘Ok Google,’ rather than requiring them to press a button first.
Furthermore, Google is integrating Waze into Android Auto, in case users want an alternative to Google’s stock navigation software. After spending $1.3 billion on Waze in 2013, you’d better believe Google is going to make use of it.
Finally, we learned that Google is encouraging carmakers to develop apps for their vehicles. Honda and Hyundai are both working on apps that will allow their customers to interact with additional features without leaving Android Auto.
Google has yet to reveal a specific launch date, but we should see the updated Android Auto app and Waze integration within the next few months.