Google's Android Auto software has driven itself into 18 more countries.
The expansion was tweeted Monday from the official Android account. The additions means that Android Auto is now available in 28 countries. Though only certain model vehicles come with the feature preinstalled, consumers can purchase third-party after-market systems that are compatible with Google's in-car software.
Android Auto connects your smartphone to your car's touchscreen infotainment system so the two can work together. Via your smartphone, your dashboard touchscreen can help you navigate, make calls, play music and perform other tasks hands-free. Using Android Auto requires a phone running Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher, a USB cable and a compatible car.
Tech companies are increasingly looking to cars as a new spot to embed their products. Carrying over their battle from the smartphone market, Apple and Google each offer rival technologies to help you control your in-car systems. Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto both take advantage of the desire on the part of consumers to always stay connected.
Google has aimed Android Auto toward Latin America, with new availability in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, as well as Puerto Rico. Other countries now on the list include Austria, India, Russia and Switzerland. Android Auto has already been available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the UK, and the US.
With the latest additions, Android Auto moves closer to CarPlay, which is available in 33 different countries.
Getting automakers to sign up for Android Auto is the real challenge. Android Auto is supported by certain model cars made by Audi, Cadillac, Honda, Hyundai, Mitsubishi and Volkswagen. Ford is one company that will support both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with its 2017 Ford Escape.