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Google's launch of Android Auto starts today with Pioneer head units

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Just make sure to download the app first

Google today released a dedicated Android Auto app that allows smartphones running Android 5.0 and above to communicate with compatible head units and car infotainment systems. The app passes data from Google Maps, Messages, Google Play Music, weather, and other apps from your phone to your car dashboard in a road-friendly interface that puts a big emphasis on hands-free operation.

Pioneer already has some (expensive) aftermarket head units available that can run Android Auto starting today, though the rollout of Google's software to cars has been very slow moving aside from that — despite the large list of industry partners that Mountain View has rounded up. It's a pretty great in-car experience, so hopefully things start to ramp up for Android Auto before long.

Don't expect to do much of anything with the Android Auto app if you don't have the required hardware in your car; you'll just see a lone screen with an option to disable pairing with unknown vehicles. That's it. Obviously this app exists solely as a link between phone and car — it's not meant to do much else.

Android Auto screenshot