There’s no question that Google has done a solid job of expanding Android Auto support to plenty of automobile manufacturers, fancy new car models, a few dozen countries, and hundreds of apps since the 2014 announcement and 2015 release of the smartphone projection standard.
But it would have taken an eternity to make the service ubiquitous through individual partnerships with car brands or aftermarket audio system producers. Instead, the search giant just unveiled arguably the most significant Android Auto update yet, bringing the app to version 2.0, and basically disconnecting it from your dashboard’s head unit.
While you can obviously still use it the “old-fashioned” way if you own, say, a 2016 Audi Q7, brand-new Camaro, 2015 Hyundai Sonata or 2017 Lincoln Continental, all other cars on the road, including older ones, are officially Android Auto-compatible now via a standalone phone app.
As long as you run Lollipop, Marshmallow or Nougat, you’re covered, with a “driver friendly interface” available on your phone screen to help you “access the key stuff you need on the road without the distraction of things that aren’t essential while driving.”
Just like before, Android Auto focuses on hands-free Google Maps navigation, music streaming, voice and text communication, plus “useful information” ranging from suggested destinations to upcoming appointments and weather conditions, all delivered intuitively, as your phone listens to your voice and simplifies touch controls.
Android Auto 2.0 will be rolling out “in the coming days” to “more than 30 countries”, and the only thing you’ll need besides a relatively recent phone to make your old car smart is the most basic dashboard mount.