After a long delay, Google’s big revamp of Android Auto is finally here. This new version of Android Auto places a heavy emphasis on a new split-screen interface, which is much more flexible than Android Auto’s old, rigid screen. This update was first shown at Google I/O and was promised in the summer of 2022, but somehow got pushed back to CES 2023. Car apps have a lot of safety regulations to follow.
Android Auto is an application that resides on your phone and sends a custom interface (wired or wireless) to the dashboard of a compatible car. Unlike regular Android, which can adapt to any screen size or shape, Android Auto was originally designed rigidly around a 16:9 horizontal screen. It’s been updated over the years to be a bit more flexible, but you’ve always wanted to live in this widescreen landscape setup. However, not all car screens are widescreen, and for cars like the Volvo XC90, which has a large 4:3 iPad-style screen in the center console, Android Auto was just a small window in the middle of the screen. . Some manufacturers gave you a mailbox or mailbox. Apple’s CarPlay received a similar flexibility update in iOS 13.
Unlike the previous version, the split screen interface should be able to adapt to any rectangular screen. There are three components: a navigation bar, the main interface of the app, and a smaller sidebar section that can display one or two additional widgets. All of these can be configured in a way that makes sense for the shape of the screen. The navigation bar can be on the right side or at the bottom. The main interface of the app can be next to the sidebar section or stacked on top. The sidebar can be a tall vertical strip or a thin horizontal strip. Some setup will work!
The sidebar is the most interesting new feature of Android Auto. It seems to work like the Android notification bar, but it’s a large size for cars. You can display controls for currently playing media or media suggestions. It can be turned into a split screen mode, where the top element will display the latest notification, which can be an incoming text message, an option to share your arrival time, or the weather.
Some of those options are from Google Assistant’s new smart suggestions, including “reminders for missed calls, quick arrival times for sharing, and instant access to music or podcasts.” On-screen shortcuts speed up responses to messages and calls to favorite contacts”.
Google is also adding a search process bar for Android Auto music and podcasts apps, which will automatically apply to all Android Auto media apps. The car safety regulations in Android Auto mean that app developers can’t do things like design a user interface; Google has a pre-built media interface that Spotify, YouTube Music, and every other media app needs to use; The developers only provide a media stream, brand colors, and select from a few button options. This pre-built interface is being updated, so every app will get it automatically.
While the app update is rolling out now, it’s unclear if existing cars with larger screens need to be updated to support this new automotive setup.
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