The mobile app that innovated in-car connectivity is officially defunct.
The advent of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is a blessed relief to the modern-day motorist. Screen mirroring allows users to control music and phone applications through the vehicle's infotainment system, bringing enhanced safety and convenience to your daily commute. However, not all vehicles are fitted with this handy feature as standard.
Not that long ago, vehicles such as the Porsche 911 weren't Android Auto compatible, meaning users had to make do with Android Auto For Phone Screens. Perhaps not as convenient as the in-car version, the mobile app allowed users to enjoy the same features albeit on their phones. Last year, Google announced the application will no longer work on Android phones running the Android 12 OS.
But now it seems the mobile app is gone for good. Not only has it disappeared from the Google Play Store, but various users have reported that launching the app takes them straight to the settings menu.
However, Google has a simple solution for these stranded app users. According to the tech giant, all people need to do is start using Google Assistant's driving mode. Introduced last year, the Californian company said the new application works similar to Android Auto For Phone Screens but is even more convenient thanks to the addition of the voice-controlled Google Assistant.
Like its predecessor, users can make and receive calls, play music and send messages. Google also touts the newcomer as safer than before; the inclusion of Google Assistant means, theoretically, drivers won't have to take their hands off the wheel. The decision to cull the mobile version of Android Auto hasn't gone down well with users, though.
The company has received plenty of negative feedback from loyal users and, frankly, we're not surprised. Currently, the replacement can't accommodate the Google-owned Waze navigation app, which is used by millions and seen by its users as a better alternative to Google Maps.
What's more, Google's "new integrated driving experience" is currently only available in select regions which, thankfully, includes the USA, Canada, and Mexico. But for users elsewhere, this could prove to be frustrating. It's rather peculiar that Google has chosen to kill Android Auto for Phone Screens before perfecting the replacement and rolling it out across the globe.
Those who rely on the app for commuting will be understandably frustrated and may abandon the Android fray for good if the issue isn't resolved. Those who use Android Auto on their car screens don't have to worry. The in-car application is here to stay, provided you have a vehicle that can support the system.