Motorola MA1 dongle brings wireless Android Auto to the masses

Sanjiv Sathiah - Jan 6, 2022, 8:52am CST
Motorola MA1 dongle brings wireless Android Auto to the masses

Android Auto has been around for nearly seven years and in that time has managed to find its way into a wide variety of new cars on the market. It’s aim has been to reduce driver distraction while using a mobile phone by transferring your Android phone’s major functionality to a more driver-friendly UI shown on a compatible car’s in-car display. It leans heavily into Google Assistant’s excellent natural voice recognition technology to further help minimize driver distraction by letting the driver control music, for example, or respond to messages with only their voice.

In the year 2018, Google and its car making OEM partners introduced wireless Android Auto. It certainly made sense to do so, as prior to the introduction of Android Auto (and its Apple competitor CarPlay), drivers were in the habit of connecting their phones to their cars wirelessly over Bluetooth (mainly for wireless audio features). When Android Auto was launched back in 2015, and right up to 2018, drivers have had to plug in their Android phone to their car over a USB cord in what amounted to something of a backwards step. An Android 11 update in late 2020 also added widespread support for wireless Android Auto at the device end.

The Motorola MA1 fills a void in the Android Auto market

Android Auto

Gabriel Nica/Shutterstock

Although there are now a number of premium cars sold with wireless Android Auto capability built-in, the feature still hasn’t filtered down to mainstream vehicles. Now SGW Global, a “Motorola Strategic Brand Partner”, has introduced a Motorola branded dongle called the MA1 Wireless Car Adapter for Android Auto to fill in the void. The dongle simply plugs into the USB port of a car with standard Android Auto support connecting over Bluetooth before establishing a fast 5GHz Wi-Fi connection with a driver’s Android phone. 

Of course, the one drawback of connecting wirelessly to Android Auto is that your phone won’t charge as it would using a hardware USB cord, but at the same time, we all can get on board with the freedom wireless connectivity offers. In an endorsement of the Motorola MA1, Google also showed it off during its Android Auto presentation at CES 2022. The Motorola MA1 dongle has a release date of January 28, 2022, with a price of $89.95 through the motorolasound.com website.


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