We enjoy many conveniences today that don’t involve any physical contact or wired connections, from putting our phones near scanners or speaking out our commands or simply just wirelessly charging our devices. These conveniences are particularly useful in cars where drivers need to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel. Unfortunately, they still have to struggle with USB cables to even use their phones with their Android Auto-enabled car. Fortunately, Android 11 will finally do away with that restriction but with an important requirement.
Wireless Android Auto connections have been around for almost two years now but it has sadly been compatible only with a small number of Android phones. That includes, of course, Google’s own Pixel devices and some Samsung phones that are already on Android 10. Those aren’t the only Android phones available in the market, of course, and fortunately, the situation will be a bit better this year.
Google just updated its support document for Android Auto’s wireless connection with a single yet critical addition. It now says that any smartphone running Android 11 will be able to use wireless Android Auto now. Or at least when Android 11 does hit your device, regardless of the manufacturer, later this year or sometime next year.
While that is indeed good news, it sadly doesn’t exactly open the wireless floodgates either. The document continues that the phone should be able to support 5GHz Wi-Fi, which is thankfully most of the high-end and some mid-range phones. That does mean that there might be additional requirements per region, like the EU. It also doesn’t affect places where wireless Android Auto is prohibited completely.
The addition of all Android 11 phones to the compatibility list can be a game-changer for Android Auto, especially as it tries to expand its coverage to more cars. The latter is, of course, going to be the deciding factor on whether Android Auto will really be able to stake a lasting claim in the automotive market.