Auto Mode in the Alexa App is Amazon’s version of Android Auto
Amazon has unveiled two car-centric features for its Alexa app, including Auto Mode and Start My Commute, which are designed to work with Alexa auto accessories like the Echo Auto. Auto Mode has been designed to make your phone safer to use hands-free, with an easy-to-read layout that displays the most important information you need. Start My Commute is essentially a routine that will tell you information about weather, traffic updates and more.
When docked on your dashboard, Amazon’s Auto Mode features one-touch access to frequent actions, including shortcuts to music, navigation to home or work, and to make a call. Amazon said you can tap a tile to launch the action, or you can use voice commands.
Each screen you jump into features quick access to your important information. In Navigation, for example, you can set your favorite locations and navigate to them with just one tap (or voice command). The Alexa app doesn’t actually provide guidance; it simply launches your preferred navigation app.
The Communicate section is probably the most important for Amazon users. You can place a call, Drop In, or make an announcement to your Alexa devices — which there are many of, as Amazon just recently announced a host of new Echo devices for the home. This is a great way to let your family know you’re on your way home, and you can do it all hands-free.
The Play portion of Amazon’s Auto Mode will display your most recently played media from any Alexa-enabled device. Choose something to play and a Now Playing screen will pop up, along with additional controls to play your media. Amazon, of course, uses Amazon Music as an example, but you can likely connect other services to use through Auto Mode.
Amazon’s Start My Commute feature is essentially a routine on the go. Once you say, “Alexa, start my commute,” a routine will be enabled that gives you the information pertinent to your drive. Like we said above, that include traffic information, weather, and more. You can get this same information from the Echo devices around your home.
Although people are driving less due to the pandemic — a stat highlighted by Waze — Amazon felt now is the time to take on Android Auto. If you are deeply embedded in the Amazon ecosystem, the new features do sound interesting and should be a great companion to Amazon’s Alexa-enabled car devices, such as Echo Auto.
Amazon said Auto Mode will roll out to Android and iOS in the coming weeks and will be available in the U.S., Canada, Germany, France, India, Italy, Spain, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Meanwhile, Start My Commute will initially be available in the U.S. soon.