Classic cars and old clunkers alike can now be equipped with Android Auto, the Android navigation and entertainment system.
Google has introduced a mobile version of Android Auto, available to any Android phone user running Android 5.0 or later, according to the company. Android Auto was previously only available to drivers with certain model cars already equipped with a dashboard display. You could also get Android Auto through various after-market head units from Pioneer and others. Credit: Google
Android Auto gives you a simpler interface on your smartphone, letting you access the navigation and entertainment tools you need to get around, while eliminating many of the distractions that you don't immediately need while you're driving, according to Google.
You'll see larger app icons on your phone running Android Auto, similar to what you'd see on your average in-dash navigation system or dedicated, portable car navigation system like those made by Garmin, Magellan and TomTom.
Android Auto can give you directions and let you see weather updates and receive and send messages, Google explains. You'll be able to access apps like Spotify and Pandora with Android Auto as well, according to Google.
"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," wrote Android Auto product manager Gerhard Schobbe in an official Google blog post. "We wanted to bring the same connected experience to these drivers too," Schobbe wrote.
A simplified interface on a dashboard-mounted smartphone doesn't exactly eliminate the kind of distractions that any other infotainment system can cause, but at least you won't have to sift through apps to find the tools that you need while driving, or send text messages manually while you're in the car.
And within a few weeks, Android Auto users will be able to start navigation, change music and send text messages with their voices via "OK Google," Schobbe wrote.