Google has begun letting third-party developers build apps for Android Auto, with the release of a new set of APIs for its in-car software platform. The initial set of APIs out the door support audio and messaging apps, similar to the launch set of features being offered by Apple with CarPlay.
The Android Auto platform is designed to work from your device, letting you plug it into your car and automatically see apps prepared and ready for use with your in-car system appear. The APIs are designed to make this software car-friendly, which means distraction free and speech-controlled interaction. Apps living on the device instead of the car also means your system will get frequent updates throughout the life of your vehicle.
Those looking for these apps on the consumer side will have to wait – development is open for business, but devs can’t yet publish their products; that’ll happen later when Android Auto launches properly in consumer vehicles, with partners across the range of car manufacturers, as well as aftermarket device makers like Pioneer.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how Android Auto works, and how to start developing for it, this introductory video provides a look at the basics, including a demo that hasn’t changed much since we first witnessed it back at I/O in June.
Android Auto will go head-to-head with CarPlay when it does eventually get a wide launch, likely next year. Users likely won’t have to choose their device platform based on what their car supports, however – most manufacturers look to be hedging their bets by supporting both.