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Android Auto arrives in earnest as Google outs companion app

Google has finally launched the companion app for its in-car infotainment platform Android Auto.

The arrival of the free Android Auto app gives drivers, who also happen to own one of the newly-released compatible Pioneer Head units, the chance to sync up their handset for the first time.

The app, which is only compatible with phones running Android 5.0 Lollipop, will enable drivers to control Google Maps, Messages, weather and more via the car’s dashboard.

So far the only company to release aftermarket Android Auto-friendly hardware is Pioneer, but Google has signed up a considerable list of auto-industry partners for its big in-car push.

The Pioneer units, which were announced at CES 2015 in January, went on sale earlier this month. They all feature a high-resolution 7-inch touchscreen which replicates the smartphone experience within the car. The three options also feature an external microphone, HDMI connectivity and compatibility with Apple Carplay.

Read more: Android 5.0 Lollipop review

However, those wishing to augment their driving experience with Android today must fork out a pretty penny to do so.The entry level model is £700, while the priciest of the bunch will set you back a whopping £1,200.

More cars are slated for launch with Android Auto functionality built in, but right now the options remain super limited.

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