Google to Discontinue Android Auto Mobile App Starting With Android 12 in Favour of Google Assistant

American tech giant Google has confirmed that it will be shutting down its standalone ”Android Auto for Phone Screens” app from Android 12 onwards.

According to The Verge, instead, anyone who wants a driving-friendly interface for their Android phone should use the Google Assistant driving mode, which is available within Google Maps, or the native Android Auto interface available in select cars.

In a statement, Google said, “For those who use the on phone experience (Android Auto mobile app), they will be transitioned to Google Assistant driving mode. Starting with Android 12, Google Assistant driving mode will be the built-in mobile driving experience. We have no further details to share at this time.”

Google has said that the experience won’t be changing for anyone using Android Auto in compatible cars.

Google’s confirmation came after a news outlet reported that some users were seeing a message in the ”Android Auto for Phone Screens” app that said the service is “now only available for car screens” and pointed phone users towards Google Assistant driving mode as a replacement.

Meanwhile, there are also reports that the ”Android Auto for Phone Screens” app now says it’s incompatible with Pixel devices running on Android 12.

Android Auto’s app history is a little bit messy, but this is a move that’s been a long time coming. The saga started in 2019, when Google decided to build most of Android Auto’s features into Android 10 as a system-level feature, and discontinue the previously downloadable app.

That’s fine for anyone with an Android Auto-compatible car, but anyone with an older vehicle would have lost access to the driving-friendly interface available directly on their phone.

As per The Verge, Google’s plan for these users was a new Google Assistant driving mode, but this software was delayed, and despite being announced in 2019, it only started rolling out late last year.

That meant Google effectively needed a stopgap measure, and the clunkily named ”Android Auto for Phone Screens app” was born.

It’s Google I/O time this week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, as we discuss Android 12, Wear OS, and more. Later (starting at 27:29), we jump over to Army of the Dead, Zack Snyder’s Netflix zombie heist movie. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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