Google today announced a few new features coming to Android devices, including improvements to Android Auto that brings calendar notifications to the in-car display and the ability to tweak some settings directly from the car’s screen without having to pick up the phone to do so. However, the company has more to share with regards to its automotive offerings, as it has also announced that the service will expand to support more apps, including for navigation, and has provided a few updates about Android Automotive OS.
First up, the search giant is announcing that it is expanding support for more apps on the platform, bringing new offerings relating to navigation, parking, and electric vehicle charging. The firm is partnering with companies such as TomTom, MapFactor, and more to bring additional navigation apps, which is a welcome addition.
Currently, the service only supports two navigation apps – Google Maps and the company-owned Waze. Other digital parking reservation services like SpotHero will also be added, greatly improving the functionality of Android Auto. Google is working with these “early access” partners to help tailor their apps for the car screen. It adds that the app makers will be releasing “new apps to their beta testers by the end of this year”.
In addition to adding support for new apps, the firm provided more information on the efforts to improve Android Automotive OS – its standalone Android-based operating system that integrates with car hardware and lets users run Android Auto apps without a phone – that includes documentation on building media apps for the OS or porting over existing Android Auto apps. It is also updating the emulator to let developers test their apps effectively.
The firm says that it is seeing strong adoption for both, Android Auto and Automotive OS. The first car to feature the dedicated operating system – Polestar 2 – is already available for purchase, with cars from Volvo Cars, Renault, General Motors, and more also expressing plans on integrating the technology into their cars.
While the offerings from partners announced today would not be immediately available, it is interesting to see the Mountain View company expanding support. The addition of electric charging station finding apps and the like greatly improve the functionality of the system while also reducing the need to pick up the phone for varied tasks.