A free update from Google has seen its Android Auto system break away from in-car display screens and display straight from your smartphone.

AS CAR MAKERS rush to make their infotainment and communications systems compatible with both Apple Car Play and Android Auto, Google has released a free update that allows Android Auto to be used as a standalone feature of your smartphone. This means Android Auto is no longer tethered to the presence of an in-car display screen.

The idea with both Apple Car Play and Android Auto is that you can use your smartphone to sync with your car’s infotainment system and have native apps from your smartphone appear on the in-car display. Until now, however, both systems had required the car to be compatible.

A free update from Google for anyone with a smartphone running Android 5.0 or later can now take Android Auto to any car. This update has been made available to those running the older Lollipop operating system which means Android Auto is compatible with a larger number of phones.

Whether the car you’re driving has a display screen or not, you can now simply slot your phone into a holder and use Android Auto’s functionality.

“We know there are millions of older cars on the road that are not compatible with Android Auto, and many don’t have a screen at all. We wanted to bring the same connected experience to these drivers too,” Google said.

Android Auto allows you to make hands-free calls and send text messages, as well as use sat-nav with turn-by-turn directions. The update will activate once the phone is connected to a car via Bluetooth.

“We’re also enhancing the support for hands-free voice commands in the coming weeks. You will soon be able to easily access existing features like maps, music and messaging by just saying “Ok Google” so you can stay focused on the road.”

This news comes as law enforcement agencies announce crack downs on the use of mobile phones while driving, with provisional drivers in NSW banned from using a mobile phone at all while driving.

Question: Does this update mean you would replace your iPhone with an Android phone?


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