Rumors about Android Auto’s retirement from phone screens have been going around for some time, but now it seems Google has finally started it, reports AutoEvolution. It seems Android Auto will no longer be available for phone screens, instead to be replaced by a new driving mode in Google Assistant with Android 12.
Android Auto for phones is officially retiring, to be replaced by Google Assistant driving mode
Two years ago, Google has launched Google Assistant driving mode, a mode that could be used as an alternative to Android Auto. The app uses Google Maps as the core app, so you can benefit from one-tap access to the installed apps during the driving mode, phone calls, messages, and media.
Google has finally confirmed this change after rumors started when the new option for driving mode has been discovered in Android 12 beta last week. However, the tech giant has not announced yet whether this new Google Assitant driving mode will be compatible with older versions of Android, and as of now, the new feature is only offered as a preview in some countries, including the US.
However, keep in mind the app is currently available for download on the Google Play Store, but may not remain there longer, so if you wish to use it, you can find it here.
Google has issued a statement regarding Android Auto for phone screens
Google has told 9to5Google that it is, indeed, ending Android Auto for phone screens with Android 12, and the new driving experience on phones using Android 12 will be powered by Google Assistant’s Driving Mode.
Android Auto will remain available for car screens, as you can see in the quote below, but people using Android Auto for phone screens will need to be slowly transitioned to the newer Google Assistant Driving mode.
Android Auto was first introduced in 2014 as a way for people to connect their smartphone to the car stereo, of course, if it was compatible. Once the connection is complete, the car stereo shows a car-optimized launcher with quick access to certain multimedia and navigation apps, convenient for use when driving. Then, in 2016, Google launched a new way to use Android Auto: on phone screens.
The Android Auto on phone screens brought a convenient for driving interface with big icons, quick access to the voice assistant, large cards for notifications, and integration with Google maps. On top of that, it also had a dialer and gives access to select media apps.
Then, it was planned to be succeeded by Google Assistant’s driving mode and the new experience it provides.
In 2019, Google has unveiled the new driving mode built into Google Assistant, and since then, it was somehow known (or at least expected) the company would be killing off Android Auto for phone screens.
Although some people may still be able to install it from a link in the Google Play Store that we mentioned above, some users have stated they are no longer capable to do so and the app is no longer marked as compatible with their phones.
Then, what does the new Google Assistant Driving mode offer?
As we stated earlier, the Google Assistant Driving mode should offer everything a driver needs while driving, with easy access to apps and navigation, calls, messages, and other features. Keep in mind that Android Auto will still be available for cars, just not for phone screens anymore.