Android Automotive is getting its 38th app: Waze

Android Automotive is getting its 38th app: Waze

Larger / Waze for Android Automotive.


of Google others The great navigation app, Waze, is coming to Android Automotive. Today the company announced the move to Waze blogsaying, “The new dedicated Waze app for cars brings the best of Waze’s navigation, routing and real-time alerts functionality[s] right on the car screen. When you drive, you can experience safer and more convenient journeys by eliminating the hassle of using a smartphone.”

Google has two different car products with really confusing branding. The first is Android Auto. This is Google’s version of CarPlay—an app that runs on your phone but projects a special car interface onto your vehicle’s dashboard screen, displaying Google Maps and compatible Android Auto apps on your phone. Waze has been in Android Auto since 2017. Today’s announcement is for Android automobile, a product other than Android Auto. Automotive, the fully written version, is a complete operating system instead of an app. Cars have infotainment computers in them and Android Automotive OS (AAOS) has the car running Android. Even if you have an iPhone in your pocket, your car runs Android on the car’s internal computer instead of something like Linux or QNX. AAOS has a car version of the Play Store, where you can download apps directly to your car, and it’s this platform where Waze is coming. Android Automotive is pretty rare out there in the world, but you’ll see it in new Volvo/Polestar, Ford and GM cars, mostly. Sometimes Google or car manufacturers will call AAOS “cars with Google built in”.

The Android Automotive app situation is dire. In-car infotainment systems are highly regulated due to safety concerns to the point that each individual application and interface must be verified by regulatory bodies around the world. This is incredibly difficult, expensive, and time-consuming for app developers, which is a big reason why Android Automotive only has 37 apps right now. You can be seen full list here. AAOS only allows media and navigation apps, and even media apps don’t get a custom interface—just plug into Google’s interface with your branding and audio streaming, which eases the regulatory burden but limits what apps can do.

Waze’s car app looks a lot like the phone app, but bigger, with the all-important report button and thousands of icons detailing user reports of police, construction and other road hazards. The screenshot even shows a “Still there?” prompt, asking the user to confirm that a previously reported risk is still active.

Despite building an app for Google’s car operating system, Waze is currently limiting distribution to certain vehicles. The company says the app is exclusive to “the new Renault Austral Hybrid and Renault Megane E-Tech electric vehicles in Europe.” The strange display may have to do with all those regulatory issues that car apps have to deal with, and Waze says it will bring the new app to “more users around the globe in 2023.”

#Android #Automotive #38th #app #Waze

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