Android Auto’s Streamlined Interface Now Available On Any Car Via 2.0 Update

As was promised by Google a long time ago, Android Auto users can now fire up the interface on their smartphones, the Mountain View company announced in a blog post. The mobile phone functionality is part of the newly released Android Auto 2.0 update, which Google is rolling out to users in more than 30 countries over the coming days.

Since launching two years ago, the Android Auto platform has spread to over 200 new car models from more than 50 brands, and there are more launching each day. However, there was no way of using Android Auto on the millions of existing vehicles lacking integrated screens, a fairly common features on many new automobiles sold today. That's where Android Auto 2.0 comes into play.

Android Auto

"We wanted to bring the same connected experience to these drivers too. So today we're excited to introduce a whole new way to use Android Auto: right on your phone screen! This update allows anyone with an Android phone (running 5.0 or later) to use a driver friendly interface to access the key stuff you need on the road―directions, music, communications―without the distraction of things that aren't essential while driving," Google said.

An Android device running Android Auto 2.0 can be connected to a compatible car display or simply placed in a mount on the dashboard. Either way, previously incompatible vehicles can now benefit from the infotainment platform and access services like Spotify and make calls or send messages using voice commands.

"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," Google added.

It's a significant update, though be warned that hands-free communication may not necessarily make you a safer driver. Research published last year by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggested that motorists can remain distracted for nearly half a minute after using voice commands. Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of the Foundation, called the effects of mental distraction a "hidden and pervasive danger," noting that "motorists could miss stop signs, pedestrians, and other vehicles" in the time it takes for the mind to readjust to driving.