Not everyone has a modern car with amenities like built-in screens. Although over 200 car models support Android Auto, there are millions more without support. So Google is letting drivers use Android Auto from their phone.
Anyone who has an Android phone running 5.0 Lollipop or later can take advantage of Android Auto. You don’t have to hook it up to an external screen either; just set your phone on a mount somewhere accessible.
To be clear, Android Auto doesn’t really give you extra functionality; rather, it’s the opposite. Systems like Android Auto and CarPlay strip down a smartphone into the bare minimals and presents them in a distraction-free interface.
You can easily access things like directions, music and communication apps, but no more than that. These services are presented in a UI that looks similar to your notification shade: big fonts and buttons in a minimal interface.
Along with the update, your phone can also automatically start the app when your phone is paired with Bluetooth. Presumably this means Bluetooth-supported car mounts, and not Bluetooth speakers and headphones.
Google is also bringing updated hands-free voice commands “in the coming weeks.” You can use these commands to access maps, music and messaging with the familiar “Ok, Google” command.
Android Auto is currently available in 31 countries. You can enter your email address here to find out when your phone will get the app.