Android Auto has gone live, for devices running Android 5.0 and up, so long as users have a car stereo system that’s compatible with the in-car software. For now, that means a range of Pioneer headings, which are already available for sale in the U.S. and the U.K.
This also marks the beginning of support for third-party Android Auto apps, which Google is now making available on Google Play, and collecting for easier discovery. Android Auto is designed to not only be formatted for easier reading on a car’s infotainment screen, but also for interaction via steering wheel controls, and via new voice commands.
Android Auto was first announced by Google during last year’s Google I/O event, at which time the company promised cars shipping with the system built-in by the end of 2014. That hasn’t come to pass just yet, but at least as of today users can take advantage of it using Pioneer’s aftermarket decks. If you’re curious about which models support Android Auto specifically right now, Pioneer’s site has further details.
Native apps from Google include Maps, Music, and voice commands, and some launch third-party apps include Kik, Pandora, Spotify, Soundcloud and more. Pre-installed support in new vehicles from a range of automakers is still in the plan, and plugging your phone in via USB should be all you need to get on the road with the new in-car features, so long as you satisfy the other criteria mentioned above.