Google announced a major update for Android Auto – the automobile extension of the standard Android operating system – that makes the platform reach out to 18 new countries from now onwards.
It’s the single biggest international roll out of the platform since its launch back in the summer of 2014. So far, Android Auto has only been available in 11 countries. Among the new regions where Android Auto makes its debut include Brazil, India, and Russia which again are counted among the fastest growing car markets in the world.
While the majority of cars sold in the above three markets may not enjoy compatibility with Android Auto, that could change soon as car manufacturers join in to tap into the huge Android smartphone user base already present.
Apart from its debut in several new regions in the world, the new update bumps the version to 1.6 and also comes with a remedy to what can be considered one of the biggest shortcomings of the operating system, its inability to connect to the entire Play Music library from the Android Auto interface. Now just like Maps, Play Music too will know when the car is stationary and will allow for a more comprehensive search operation.
So far users had to rely on a not so reliable voice search which again isn’t known to be flawless in recognizing band names properly.
Google is also claiming the new update has made the phone-car connection more reliable which makes for a hassle free user experience when connected to the user’s smartphone.
The countries where Android Auto has just been introduced include Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Russia, Switzerland, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Google had launched Android Auto On June 25, 2014, as a means to allow for a safe and convenient method for users to reach out to their smartphones using the car dashboard’s head unit. This allows for far less distraction than reaching out to the smartphone itself for pulling off the same tasks, such as searching the map or browsing the music library.
Also, while many car manufacturers have also evinced support for Android Auto, the large scale adoption of the platform on car models, even the most recent ones, is yet to. Maybe that would happen with several more updates down the road along with more support from the car manufacturers as well.