Android Auto is a great experience, but it’s not particularly easy to make a part of your life yet.
There’s no denying how cool Android Auto is. As a concept, it’s everything we’ve wanted out of car stereos since everyone figured out Google Maps was infinitely better than whatever was living on your “infotainment” system. Toss in compatibility with a healthy number of music and podcast apps, a self-imposed limit on notifications while driving and the ability to have text messages read to you while you drive, not to mention plenty of voice controls, and you’ve got a decent first generation offering. The only problem with Android Auto for most folks is the price. It doesn’t matter who you are, $700 as the “low end” for Android Auto devices that aren’t included in your vehicle is a tough pill to swallow, and that’s assuming you don’t also need to pay to have it installed.
If you’re looking to check out something that looks and feels an awful lot like Android Auto without spending the money, and you don’t mind beta-testing or offering feedback based on your use, there’s an app being developed right now to scratch that particular itch. It’s called AutoMate, and there’s already a lot to like in this app.