Android Automotive is Android Auto’s bigger and more complex sibling, as it comes pre-loaded on the head unit and provides more advanced functionality. That includes access to climate controls and EV information, such as battery level and mileage.
The Mountain View-based search giant lets companies put their own skins on top of Android Automotive, creating a fully personalized experience that looks different from the one on other brands. But the core OS is the same, and Google hopes this approach will help increase the adoption in the long term.
In the meantime, however, Android Automotive is also getting more love in the dev community. Most recently, someone has managed to port the operating system to a tablet and therefore run it outside of the car.
Developer Tom Pratt claims everything is running properly, though Android Automotive’s tablet port lacks Google services, meaning that apps like Google Maps wouldn’t be available.
On the other hand, Android Automotive can still be an Android Auto replacement, as you can install other navigation and media apps. That’s pretty much because the port does recognize the tablet’s LTE connection, the GPS sensor, and even the microphones for voice input.
In its current implementation, Android Automotive barely brings any value to someone who wants Android in their cars. Still, with the right improvements, such as a launcher and more apps, this port could easily become a full Android Auto replacement that no longer requires a phone to power the whole thing.
Of course, pretty much the same thing can be obtained by simply running full Android on a tablet and customizing it with a car launcher, so it’ll certainly be interesting to keep an eye on this project and see how it improves over time.