Google has confirmed that it's replacing the Android Auto app on smartphones with the all-new Driving Mode bundled into Google Assistant and Google Maps in Android 12. That means, in the future, Android Auto will be reserved for vehicle infotainment systems, while those hoping to use their phone will have to use Driving Mode in Google Maps.
This change was noticed when users upgrade to Android 12 Beta and was later confirmed by Google.
This is finally the end of the end for the Android Auto app on phones – after the company announced Driving Mode almost two years ago.
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Having first appeared in the US late last year, it is now available in Germany and other countries.
The feature combines Google Maps with the Google Assistant, showing the navigation view we are all familiar with, but with a Google Assistant bar at the bottom of the screen. This can be used to make phone calls, answer incoming calls, send messages and play music, all by speaking to the Assistant and keeping your hands on the wheel.
We think this update is a great way to bring more functions to the Google Maps app, but in a safe and hands-free way, since everything is handled by the Assistant.
The new feature is, of course, exclusive to Android, since iPhones have their own voice assistant in the form of Siri. We’ll be interested to see if Apple does the same thing by blending Siri with the Apple Maps app in the future.
In a statement, Google said, 'Google Assistant driving mode is our next evolution of the mobile driving experience. For the people who use Android Auto in supported vehicles, that experience isn’t going away. For those who use the on phone experience (Android Auto mobile app), they will be transitioned to Google Assistant driving mode. Starting with Android 12, Google Assistant driving mode will be the built-in mobile driving experience. We have no further details to share at this time.'
What Google still hasn't confirmed, however, is whether Driving Mode will be available for Android users on older operating systems, or whether they will still have to use the Android Auto app.
It's worth noting, that currently Android Auto for phones is already installed on your phone then the app should continue to work, just like before, but some people are claiming they are no longer able to install the app from the Google Play Store.