(Pocket-lint) – While at CES 2022 in Las Vegas, Google announced more Android features for cars, including a way to wirelessly connect.
One of the biggest hangups with Android Auto is you can’t use it wirelessly, even with Bluetooth, because few cars support wireless Android Auto from the factory. So, you had to plug in your phone. But now you can get a dongle from Motorola that will allow you to wirelessly use Android Auto.
The Motorola MA1, which is available for $90 starting 5 January 2022, pairs with your phone using Bluetooth and then transmits data over 5Ghz Wi-Fi. It automatically connects and lets you project Android Auto wirelessly through a USB port in your car. It even has a sticky pad for you to mount it on your dash. Just keep in mind, since your phone won’t be plugged in, it won’t charge as you use maps or listen to music via your car’s screen.
This is not the first third-party product that can add wireless support to existing vehicles, but it’s the first one that Google is highlighting.
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Apart from the MA1, Google announced it plans to expand its Digital Car Key feature that lets you unlock your car, start it up, and share a digital key with a friend or loved one using your Android phone. It first launched in select BMW vehicles. Now, Google said more smartphones will be able to use the keyless entry method. Later this year, phones with Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology can become your key on supported vehicles.
More cars are expected to offer Android Auto in 2022 – but Google didn’t say which ones. Automakers like Polestar, Volvo Cars, and General Motors are already shipping cars with Google’s technology built right into their infotainment system. Some new Android apps are coming, too, including offline navigation from Sygic and Flitsmeister, parking apps like SpotHero and ParkWhiz, and charging apps such as ChargePoint and PlugShare.
Google is also partnering with Lyft and Kakao Mobility to add their driver apps to Android Auto, so drivers can accept rides from their car display.
Lastly, Volvo will be the first to offer remote actions and built-in YouTube.
So, with any Google Assistant-enabled device, you’ll be able to ask Google Assistant to warm up or cool your Volvo vehicle and even lock and unlock it – all without needing to walk out to the garage. And, later this year, you will be able to play videos from YouTube on your car display while parked.
Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on .