By on June 8, 2015


Though Google’s Android OS may be awash with numerous apps, Android Auto goes for a more limited approach in the name of traffic safety.

Appearing in the showrooms of Hyundai, Chevrolet, Volkswagen, and other automakers this summer, Android Auto will only have 35 apps available for the time being, Automotive News reports. The limitation is part of Google’s effort to carefully enter the realm of connected-vehicle technology, especially when it comes to minimizing distraction while on the road.

Thus, Google’s finest minds have created templates to which third-party apps must adhere, with streaming audio apps Audible, Pandora and Spotify, as well as messaging apps WhatsApp, WeChat and Telegram all pass with flying colors. The templates use a common button layout and a new common typeface called Roboto, both intended to minimize constant learning of new apps via standardized controls, thus preventing distractions in so doing.

While Google is moving steadily into the water, automakers are doing the same with Android Auto. Audi in particular has tested over 10 exclusive apps since early 2014, including ones which would track traffic history and help off-roaders tackle obstacles in the next-gen Q7. Thus far, none are ready for prime time. Meanwhile, Hyundai is first out of the gate with the connected-vehicle system aboard the 2015 Sonata, with the first models and over-the-air updates coming this month.

[Photo credit: Chevrolet]

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8 Comments on “Google Wades Carefully Into Connected-Vehicle Waters With Android Auto...”

  • avatar

    Just let us clone our phones on the screen and be done with it. This company has made a solution for Toyota/Lexus that works a treat — with unlimited data you can even watch Netflix while on the road (on both front and rear screens).

    • 0 avatar

      Mirroring your phone’s screen flies in the face of what Google is trying to do here. The idea is to make an uncluttered, uniform UI that will reduce the time a driver’s eyes are off the road. Phone apps are all over the place in terms of design and are not designed with a driver’s safety in mind. If Google does this right it will be a far superior solution than screen mirroring.

  • avatar

    There’s a lot more to connected vehicle technology than just developing a pretty interface for your phone. DSRC and WAVE are what’s coming down the pike at us, fast, and your cell phone isn’t going to play much of part in that at all. This hardly even counts.

  • avatar

    WAZE needs to be available too.

  • avatar

    I find it funny that car companies have spent millions developing software systems, to only switch to the thing they should have used in the first place. I mean apple and google spent billions on developing simple UX and UI so it makes only sense to piggy back off their hard work. Also cheaper.

  • avatar

    All cars should do is clone the phone. Have a cheap-ass tablet mirror the phone output. I’ve seen people retrofit them into dashboards and it is definitely the way to go!

  • avatar

    “including ones which would track traffic history and help off-roaders tackle obstacles in the next-gen Q7.”

    Really, a Q7 off-road?
    Maybe a pot hole filled side street after a trip back from Tommy Bahamas or Whole Foods but off road, that’s a stretch.

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