Zero cars support wireless mode, but at least the phones are catching up.
The glacial rollout of anything Android Auto related continues at the usual pace. Android Auto Wireless, which was announced about 20 months ago at CES 2018, is finally coming to Samsung phones. The feature allows Android phones to send a driving-focused UI to a car’s in-dash display (like Apple’s Carplay); normally Auto needs a USB cable to work. But this newer scheme can work over Wi-Fi, assuming the phone and the car support it.
Android Police first spotted the update to Google’s Android Auto support page, which lists the compatible Samsung models. Samsung flagships from the Galaxy S8 and newer are supported, so that’s the S8, Note8, S9, Note9, S10, and Note10. Along with those Samsung phones and every Google phone going back to the Nexus 5X, that’s it for the list of wireless-compatible Android Auto phones. For a feature that launched 20 months ago, that’s not very good.
Your car needs to be compatible with Wireless Android Auto for this to work, too, and the car compatibility list is even sadder than the phone list. Zero cars support Android Auto Wireless right now. To quote Google’s FAQ page on the subject, “Android Auto wireless is only available with select models of JVC, Kenwood, and Pioneer aftermarket stereos, at this time.”
Automotive development pipelines and safety regulations make the auto industry notoriously slow to adopt new technology, so maybe there was a chicken-and-egg problem here. With only Google’s extremely tiny market share supporting Android Auto Wireless, it’s possible many automakers didn’t feel the feature was necessary. Samsung is the top Android OEM, and now that Android’s most popular flagships support wireless, maybe the industry will take notice.