Google's Android Auto Debuts On Pioneer Head Units

Google this week made its Android Auto platform now available for devices running Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and higher, provided you own a compatible car stereo head unit. Pioneer gets first dibs on that front with a trio of compatible models -- AVIC-8100NEX, AVIC-7100NEX, and AVH-4100NEX -- though Google says more partners will jump on board.

"Starting today, you can get Android Auto in your car with your Android 5.0+ phone and compatible Pioneer head units," Google stated in a Google+ post. "Available in the US, UK, and AU. Stay tuned for more partners coming soon."

Android Auto

This has been a long time coming. Google first unveiled Android Auto during its Google I/O event last year, saying that cars would ship with the platform built-in by the end of the 2014. That turned out to be a bit of an ambitious time frame, though not by much, as we're less than three full months into 2015, and Android Auto is here.

The Android Auto app connects Android 5.0+ smartphones with compatible car head units and transfers data from Google Maps, Google Play Music, Messages, and more to your car's dashboard. There's also support for some third party apps, such as Spotify and Pandora.

You can control everything with your voice, which allows you to keep your eyes focused on the road. In the video above, you can see drivers ask Google Now if they have any appointments and where the nearest coffee shop is at, get directions, make phone calls, and more.

The caveat? Compatible head units aren't cheap. The least expensive of Pioneer's compatible head units is $700, or half the price of its most expensive one at $1,400 (the middle option runs $1,200).