While most of the Google I/O was focused on mobile, Android Auto has its own deserved moment in the spotlight. Google is set to launch a big Android Auto redesign later this year and finally looks set to make it great to use in the car. Android Auto has been around for a while now but has often frustrated users in the one place you can’t afford frustration.
Explained in Google’s “What’s New with Android for Cars” session, the most important upcoming change is a refreshed UI for Android Auto focused on making it easier to navigate, control media and communicate with others while driving. To accommodate the larger displays in new cars, the company is making split screen view standard across all devices so that you can see directions, music and texts all at the same time. That means you’ll be able to quickly pause a song or see a new message without having to navigate through a bunch of menus and settings.
With the new design, you’ll have quick access to most features at the same time . It will be able to provide contextual suggestions to help you interact with minimal distractions. If you receive a message it can suggest quick replies, return missed calls, and even suggest some music to listen to. Even with this great-looking new UI, the less you have to look and poke at it the better.
On top of that, Google is also improving support for adaptive layouts. Whether you have a traditional 16:9 panel in your car, one of the new fancy super long displays, or something with more verticality, Android Auto will adapt and deliver the same new experience to all.
Android Auto update coming this summer
The update is set to arrive this summer and it’ll certainly make a big difference to the experience. Also getting some attention is Android Automotive, Google’s dedicated in-car operating system, with improvements coming to the parked experience. After all, why should Tesla owners have all the fun?
Finally, for owners of cars with systems based on Android Automotive, Google is expanding your in-car entertainment options with wider support for video streaming apps. Earlier this year at CES, Google announced the ability to stream clips from YouTube, and now the Tubi TV and Epix Now apps will be added soon. Just remember, you can only watch videos while the car is parked, so don’t try to stream and drive. And in the future, the company says it also has plans to let passengers stream content from their phones to their vehicle’s built-in display, though there isn’t a concrete timeline for when that will be available yet.
To get a look at everything new for cars, both for drivers and developers, be sure to check out the dedicated Google I/O session, what’s new with Android for cars.