Android Auto now becoming a standalone app 

I’m a firm believer that drivers should have limited, if no access to mobile phones whilst driving. Having just returned from a family holiday in Florida, I saw many drivers using their phone and even texting whilst driving. It just shows how distracted drivers can be whilst fiddling with phones.

Android Auto did go some way to tackling this problem, but the first iter of the app meant that it had to be connected to a compatible car stereo unit that supported the in-car system. Either that or buying a new car that supported the platform. That’s kinda expensive.

Earlier this year Google did announce that Android Auto would become a standalone app, and now a V2.0 update has delivered this. You can now use Android Auto without a connection to a head unit. Android Auto gives users more distinct navigation experience, with bigger tap areas, and designated areas for navigation tools and music access. Support is there for third-party music services like Spotify, as well as Google Play Music. 

To keep drivers eyes on the road, the app won’t let you read text messages, but instead reads them out for you. The only interaction that you have with your device is with voice commands. The “OK Google” hotword detection is not there as yet, but it’s believed it is coming with a further update. 

Android Auto can be launched in a number of different ways, including an option allowing the service to start as soon as it connects to the Bluetooth in your car. You can opt to keep the display active while conected to the charger, etc.

I for one am looking forward to this update and added safety features.

For more information, head to the Google Blog.

What are your thoughts on limited device use and Android Auto? Let us know in the comments below.