But Google has just announced that owners of a Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Nexus 5X, or Nexus 6P running Android Oreo or higher can now enjoy wireless mode, providing they have a compatible head unit. Additionally, users must have Android Auto app version 3.1 and higher to be able to start Android Auto on their vehicle display without a USB cable or wire. You can even leave your phone in your pocket or your bag. The tech giant adds that additional handset will be supported in the future, too. So far, the support is only available for devices in North America on head units from JVC or Kenwood, whose Android Auto compatible units were revealed at CES this year.
Remember, you'll still need a USB cable to establish the initial Android Auto connection. Google is apparently working with phone manufacturers on making the software work with their individual wrappers, but who knows when that will actually roll out to the public.
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Android Auto itself has developed as a full-fledged Apple CarPlay competitor, with support for a range of apps from Waze to Google Play Music to Spotify and so on. If you don't have a compatible head unit in your vehicle, you can run Android Auto on your phone as an app.
With the Google I/O developer conference scheduled for May, we may well hear more about Google's plans for its in-car entertainment solution.