Now I know that the Android Auto wireless interface solves some problems just to introduce others. The creators of Android Auto boast that this year more and more functions will work wirelessly.
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Of course, it depends on the right combination of the phone and the car, because both devices must properly cooperate with each other. Android Auto is already available in approximately 150 million cars worldwide.
More and more of them are to be equipped with the function of wireless connection to the phone, which requires appropriate software and a Wi-Fi device. Then the cable is only plugged in once: for configuration.
This is the theory. When I heard about this solution for the first time, I was delighted. I believed that the problems with incompatible cables and the constant plugging of the phone would end. And so it was, but new problems immediately arose.
Android Auto photo by Filip Trusz
The first trouble with Android Auto. The wireless connection is unstable
First, the wireless connection is much less stable. This is strange, because in the case of other transmission protocols it is difficult to complain about the effectiveness of the Wi-Fi radio connection. In the case of Android Auto, it happens that the phone disconnects from the car at the least expected moment.
It happened to me many times in different cars, when I was navigating in an unfamiliar place or at a complicated highway junction. Burn a six-time music break, but I’d like to know where to go.
You can try to restore the connection manually, but it usually happens automatically after several seconds. You can also connect the cable in an emergency, but it does not make sense. Even if we have it at hand, such a solution will not work.
Instead of using a USB cable, the phone will persistently try to connect to the car wirelessly. Until or until we change the appropriate parameter setting in the phone menu, which cannot be done while driving.
The second Android Auto trouble. Inductive chargers are low power
The next problem with the Android Auto wireless connection is that the phone battery is draining. In the case of the cable, we have both transmission and replenishment of energy. Wireless connection increases its consumption, and at the same time we are doomed to less effective inductive charging. And only if we paid for such an add-on to the car.
Plus, wireless charging is more of a hassle. In some car models, it is enough to move the phone on the shelf and it stops working. In others, large smartphone models do not fit at all or the induction loop is too weak to work through the protective housing.
So much for Android Auto without a cable. Google says it will be an increasingly common sight, as well as using a smartphone as a car key. In this case, you need to use a different wireless UWB (Ultra Wide-Band) technology. Both the car and the telephone must be equipped with it.
Google smartphones will have more and more wireless functions
For now, such an option is only offered by Pixel smartphones and some Samsung Galaxy in combination with new BMW models. The Fast Pair function will also be available in BMW and Ford cars, which will facilitate quick pairing of the phone with the car.
In addition, more and more automotive companies are implementing the Android Automotive solution with the complete Google system in the car. Volvo, Polestar and the new Renault Megane E-TECH cars already have such a system, and more and more companies, including Ford, Stellantis, Nissan and Mitsubishi, are announcing them.
There will also be more third-party applications that can be operated via Android Auto, and Motorola even introduced the MA1 accessorythat will allow you to operate any car with the Android Auto interface wirelessly. Then the trouble with the cable is overcome, but new ones may appear.
I don’t know whether to worry about it or be happy about it. More like the latter. Reassuringly, Google usually does the opposite of its main competitor: Apple. It introduces underdeveloped services early, but then gradually improves their quality. The company’s software with a bitten apple in the logo has significantly fewer bugs, but usually takes longer to fix.