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Android Auto for phones shut down as Google Assistant Driving Mode takes over

Google has shut down the mobile version of Android Auto, which enabled drivers to access the infotainment system without having a compatible car or head unit.

The standalone app called “Android Auto For Phone Screens” gave users control over apps like Maps and Phone in a user-friendly experience for phones stowed within a dashboard clasp.

The app had been discontinued as far back as Android 12 last year, but those phones running Android 11 or earlier were still able to access it on their devices, 9to5Google reports.

While Google had pre-empted the move, the company has now turned off the app completely, redirecting to a settings page within Android for Android Auto.

“Android Auto is now only available for car screens,” a message reads on the setting page, offering users the ability to connect a car and access previously connected cars.

While the app hadn’t been used as much in recent years, it was a nice bonus for users who owned older cars without Android Auto functionality.

It’s not all bad news for Android-based drivers though. The company finally released Google Assistant Driving Mode in 2021.Announced at Google I/O 2019, it was designed to let users access a new dashboard on their phone that presents the most useful information front and centre.

Drivers will see navigation, messages, calls and media, which are intelligently arranged in line with what the Assistant thinks is the most important. It is designed to work automatically with the car when it connects to Bluetooth, while users can also say “Hey Google, let’s drive” to launch driving mode, making it a bit like Knight Rider.

At Google I/O 2022, the company announced a significant revamp for Android Auto, bringing split-screen functionality to all displays capable of running Android Auto, regardless of the form factor. This’ll ensure everyone can have rapid access to their media and incoming messages, while also keeping the navigation front and centre. Google says this will reduce the need to switch between apps while driving. The new UI is adaptable, meaning it’ll conform to portrait and landscape screens and even the widest-screen options on the market, without the aspect ratio getting all weird.

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