And to do this, Google offers several solutions, two of which bring the Android experience to the cabin’s largest screen.
The first of these is Android Auto, and it works using an Android device. As soon as the main unit supports Android Auto, you just need to connect an Android phone to the car using wired or wireless, and that’s about it.
The second is Android Automotive, a stand-alone operating system offered natively on the main units, providing a more advanced experience with deep integration of Google services, including Google Maps and Google Assistant.
Compared to Android Auto, Android Automotive has more complex capabilities through integration with car systems. Google Assistant, for example, can control the air conditioning system, while Google Maps can check mileage and automatically provide directions to the nearest gas or charging station.
At first glance, Android Automotive seems like Google’s big bet in the automotive market, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Android Auto is no longer worth our love. In fact, Android Auto is in many ways better than Android Automotive, and below are the top three reasons why Google shouldn’t even be thinking about ditching this solution anytime soon.
It can be installed in any car, old and new
First of all, compared to Android Automotive, which can only be installed in new cars using special hardware, Android Auto (and CarPlay too) only requires a compatible head unit.
So, for example, even old cars can be upgraded to Android Auto support using a spare head unit. Many companies offer such solutions including Sony, Kenwood, Pioneer, Alpine and others. So it is almost impossible not to find a suitable receiver for your car that supports Android Auto.
In many cases, installing such systems only takes a few minutes, although car owners who aren’t necessarily tech-savvy should just go to a service center for the whole thing.
The cost of a new head unit is also pretty low, as some unnamed aftermarket receivers cost just $ 199.
It’s already in everyone’s pocket
Compared to Android Automotive which, as we said, requires the installation of new hardware by automakers, Android Auto is already in everyone’s pocket.
Android is currently the number one mobile platform, and some third-party statistics give it an 80% market share.
In other words, 8 out of 10 people have an Android phone, and since Google’s operating system comes preloaded with Android Auto at the operating system level, it is extremely convenient for everyone to simply connect their mobile device to their car.
All they need is a cable, and most drivers already have one, since almost everyone charges their phone in their car.
Cheaper for builders too
And finally, Android Auto is also cheaper for automakers. It’s no secret that the adoption of Android Automotive is improving quite slowly, while the availability of Android Auto across the world is skyrocketing.
Google itself recently revealed that over 100 million cars use Android Auto wirelessly, and this figure is only for cars where such capabilities have been offered factory installed without considering vehicles with main units. spare.
One of the reasons for this major increase is the low price of installing Android Auto and CarPlay in a new car. It is believed that the module required to power Android Auto and CarPlay costs no more than a few dollars, while the license fee, at least in the case of the Apple system, is around $ 50, although it is not. paid for each vehicle but for the right to use the software on a specific number of cars.
Android Automotive, on the other hand, requires more complex hardware with higher costs, so overall Android Auto seems like the obvious choice for automakers too.