Goodbye Android Auto, welcome to Driving Mode

Goodbye Android Auto, welcome to Driving Mode

Goodbye Android Auto

Google's plans for mobility services dedicated to cars seem clear: as early as last month, the Mountain View company has begun to centralize the features dedicated to use in the car around Google Assistant. On the other hand, the Android Auto smartphone application, whose functionality will be reduced more and more until it is completely replaced, is increasingly penalized.

For some Android Auto users (not to be confused with the infotainment platform of the same name mounted on some cars, which instead is constantly improving) has even stopped working since August, but the final retirement of the application will be implemented starting from devices updated to the new Android 12 operating system.

If you use Android Auto on a smartphone updated to the latest Android release, you will immediately encounter a banner that will inform the user of the possibility of using the new Google Assistant features.

What are the changes made to the Google Assistant Driving Mode, implemented starting from the 12.39 update of the Android app? First of all, Google has perfected the integration between the smartphone and the car, allowing the Assistant to automatically activate the Driving Mode as soon as the smartphone connects to the car's Bluetooth. The latter setting is disabled by default, but the user can choose to receive a notification or activate it automatically. Through another setting item, it is even possible to automatically start Driving Mode when the device detects a moving vehicle.

This new feature, which increasingly aims at an integrated mobility experience between different devices within the Google ecosystem, fits into a recently renewed Google Assistant dashboard. The new user interface of Google's Driving Mode presents, in addition to the classic maps and driving directions, multimedia content control widgets and a link to incoming calls and messages.

The Google Assistant's new Driving Mode settings are located within the Google app, under Google Assistant> Transportation> Car Mode, respectively.

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Goodbye, Traditional Car Keys: Samsung Phones Now Able to Unlock Doors, Start the Engine

Apple was the first tech giant to allow its smartphones to double as car keys, and now the South Koreans at Samsung are following in the footsteps of their American rival with a similar announcement.The company’s latest high-end models can now be used as digital car keys, therefore being able to lock and unlock the doors of your vehicle, start the engine, and even adjust certain settings all using only a few taps on the screen.

Originally announced at the Unpacked event the last January, the new feature is powered by ultra-wideband (UWB) technology that allows the mobile device to communicate with the car wirelessly and securely.

As a result, phones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 can get access to certain functions of the car without the need for the traditional keys, with the mobile phone company explaining that drivers would even be allowed to adjust the seat and the mirror position before entering the car.

At the same time, Samsung’s Android phones will allow car key sharing with someone else, all for a limited time and using a secure method that doesn’t expose any kind of data.

The first car model to support the new feature is the Genesis GV60, and Samsung says the debut will happen by the end of this year in Korea. There’s no word as to when international users could get the same functionality, but there’s no doubt this is Samsung’s long-term goal, especially as the adoption of Apple’s UWB technology is also on the rise.

At this point, only five phone models coming from Samsung support the new digital car keys, namely the Galaxy S21+, Galaxy S21 Ultra, Note20 Ultra, Galaxy Z Fold 2, and Galaxy Z Fold 3. The company has remained tight-lipped on whether it plans to expand this feature to more devices or if the company is already discussing with other carmakers to introduce similar functionality on more vehicles.

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