At I/O 2023 today, Google shared a few updates for both Android Auto and Android Automotive OS. Perhaps the biggest news is that Google is working with Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex to bring those virtual meeting apps to Android-equipped vehicles. If the thought of joining a video call in your car sounds like a driving hazard, don’t worry: the meetings will be audio only with simplified controls on the infotainment display.
Google is also rolling out Waze in the Google Play Store for all vehicles with Google built-in. This means the popular navigation app will be available outside of just Android Auto and beyond Volvo and Polestar models. What’s more, the company is allowing developers to integrate the instrument cluster with their navigation apps. As you might expect, this will put turn-by-turn directions in the driver’s line of sight. Plus, developers can access vehicle data like range, fuel level and speed to give drivers even more insight on their trips.
Google has added new app categories to the Android for Cars App Library. That repository now allows developers to add IoT and weather apps for use in vehicles. For example, The Weather Channel app will be available alongside existing software like Weather and Radar later this year. The company is also making it easier for media apps (music, audiobooks, podcasts, etc.) to port their software to Android Auto and Android Automotive OS.
Additionally, the company has new categories for video and gaming apps in its library, with the goal of expanding to browsing apps soon. These are specifically designed for use when the car is parked or by passengers. YouTube is now available for all automakers to add to cars with Google built-in. Google says Polestar, Volvo and other “select partners” have committed to adding the video-streaming app via over-the-air updates. In terms of games, the initial slate includes Beach Buggy Racing 2, Solitaire FRVR, and My Talking Tom Friends. What’s more, Google plans to add multi-screen support to Android Automotive OS 14, which will allow “shared entertainment experiences” between drivers and passengers.
Google says Android Auto will be available in almost 200 million cars by the end of 2023. The company also says that the number of cars with their infotainment systems powered entirely by Android Automotive OS with Google built-in should nearly double by the end of the year. That latter figure is spurred by adoption by automakers like Chevrolet, Volvo, Polestar, Honda, Renault and more. In March, GM announced it would phase out Android Auto and CarPlay in its EVs in favor of Android Automotive.
Follow all of the news from Google I/O 2023 right here.