Android Auto Update Brings RCS Support, Improved Media Support, More


Google announced a sizable update today (Nov. 29) for the infotainment platform that figures to be one of the most significant Android Auto's ever seen. An improved layout, featuring large album art views, lets you quickly identify and select something to play. MMS and group messaging are now supported, and if you opt in, you can even get an onscreen preview of text messages - assuming the vehicle is stopped. Simply can say "OK Google, play Linkin Park" and you'll immediately be able to view more categorized search results from your app on your car's screen. Those that are getting in on the ground floor are apps like Google Play Books, iHeartRadio, Google Play Music, Spotify, and Pocket Casts, though more apps will be getting this functionality in the future. In addition to SMS messaging, Android Auto now supports apps that use MMS (multimedia messaging service) and RCS (rich communication services).

While Android Auto offers solid and safe access to much of the audio-only media on your phone while you're driving, finding that ideal track or album can sometimes be a wee bit clumsy. And Google says that it's working to bring new updates to more music and media apps.

In addition to the message preview we touched on yesterday, Android Auto now supports apps that use MMS and RCS while will include group messaging support and possibly picture messaging, although that seems counter productive to what Android Auto is created to do. The messaging features are now available for Messages, Hangouts, and WhatsApp, with more supported apps on the way.

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Why buy a finished Android Auto head unit when you can hack one together with a Raspberry Pi 3?

Here's the list of compatible apps for Android Auto, including all those music, media, and messaging apps. The change was first noticed in 9to5Google's teardown of the app from a few weeks ago and now appears to be rolling out to all users.