Owners of Pixel phones and select Nexus devices can now connect to Android Auto using Wi-Fi
Before, users had to utilize a USB connector in order to use Android Auto, the platform developed by Google to give car owners an easy to use Android powered interface that offers directions, entertainment (including the user’s favorite tracks), and even incoming mobile alerts.
But now, the tech giant has recently announced that people can now connect to the Android Auto experience over a Wi-Fi connection -- that is, as long as they have a Pixel, a Pixel XL, a Pixel 2, a Pixel 2 XL, a Nexus 5X (made by LG), or a Nexus 6P smartphone (made by Huawei) that is running on Android 8.0 Oreo. Just to be clear, it needs to be noted that the vehicle must be able to work with Android Auto version 3.1, and a cable will be needed to set up the system.
Some may remember that back in January early this year (held in the city of Las Vegas in Nevada), JVC and Kenwood had announced more than half a dozen Android Auto head units that come with Wi-Fi connectivity. What was tricky was that even if a vehicle owner had purchased any one of these new Auto head units, they would not be able to use Android Auto’s Wireless mode because no mobile device offers full support for the functionality yet.
But that changes with Google adding support to its Pixel smartphones and a couple of Nexus branded handsets.
But wait -- what about those with Android Auto head units who do not own any one of the supported Pixel and Nexus phones? Unfortunately, there is no short term solution for now, but Google did state that it is already collaborating with various phone makers in order to make the Android Auto Wireless mode work on their Android Oreo powered smartphones.
The Android Auto platform can be viewed as Google’s answer to Apple’s CarPlay. For those not familiar with Android Auto at all, it basically aims to provide drivers of cars quick and easy access to any information or entertainment while they are driving, and with as less distraction as possible (because safety is, after all, still the main priority). For example, Google Maps is always a good thing to have when you are trying to locate that new Vietnamese restaurant everybody has been talking about, but obviously, checking your smartphone’s Google Maps app while you are behind the wheels is far from being a good idea. But when your favorite navigation app can be accessed through your vehicle’s head unit, things are made so much easier.