Google Maps Rival Launches on Android Auto With a Big Limitation

Google opening up Android Auto to more third-party app categories has been received with much enthusiasm by users out there, pretty much because this paves the way for a larger app ecosystem that would include not only software released by the search giant itself but also alternatives coming from all over the world.

And in the last few months, the number of apps joining the Android Auto party has indeed increased, especially in the navigation category where more developers started rolling out alternatives to the likes of Google Maps and Waze.

This week, Russian company Yandex did the same thing, bringing its navigation software to Android Auto and therefore offering a car-optimized experience for those who connect their Android mobile devices to the head unit in the car.

As you could easily figure out, the essential feature package is all there, so you’re getting the typical navigation capabilities that include voice prompts to help you figure out which way to go without looking at the screen, traffic camera and speed limit alerts, real-time updates on traffic, as well as support for offline maps to continue the navigation without an Internet connection.

In other words, Yandex.Maps sounds like a worthy alternative to Google Maps, though the biggest problem is that it comes with one huge limitation.

It’s only available for Russian users, and the parent company explains that the Android Auto support requires a Yandex Plus subscription. This means you can’t use the app in your car unless you’re paying, but on the other hand, the current version listed on the Google Play Store features a 3-month trial to let you see what it’s all about without paying.

Certainly, this shortcoming will affect its adoption on Android Auto, so most people would still stick with Google Maps and Waze, but even so, the debut of Yandex.Maps in the car is the living proof that more developers are finally interested in bringing their apps to the head units inside our vehicles.