Android Auto gets another refresh, this time focusing on the evolutionary nature of vehicle touch screens.
Google says the new split-screen will be standard for all Android Auto users, giving them access to key features like navigation, media player and messaging, all from one screen. Previously, split screen was only available to owners of certain vehicles. Now this will be the default user experience for all Android Auto clients.
“We used to have a different screen mode, which was available in a very limited number of cars,” said Rod Lopez, senior product manager at Android Auto. “Now it’s available, no matter what kind of screen you have, what size, what form factor, and it’s a really, really exciting update. »
Android Auto will also adapt to any type of touch screen, regardless of its size. Automakers are starting to get creative with their infotainment screen size, installing everything from large portrait screens to long vertical screens shaped like surfboards. Google says that Android Auto will now seamlessly comply with all of these variants.
“We’ve seen some really cool industrial innovations going into these very large portrait screens that go into these extremely wide landscape screens,” Lopez said. “And you know, the cool thing is that Android Auto will now support them all and be able to customize, giving you all of these features at your fingertips as a user.”
Lopez acknowledged that screens in cars are getting bigger and bigger, especially in luxury cars like the Mercedes-Benz EQS, with its 56-inch wide Hyperscreen (which are actually three separate screens built into one window). , or Cadillac Lyriq’s 33-inch LED infotainment screen. He said Google has partnered with automakers to better adapt Android Auto to this trend.
“It was part of the new motivation behind this redesign, was to be able to better tailor our product to those vehicles that come out with these massive portrait screens and these massive widescreens,” Lopez said. “And so our approach has worked closely with these OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] to make sure things make sense and work.
As the screens get bigger, the likelihood of motorists becoming more distracted by their screens increases. A recent study showed that drivers who chose music with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto had slower reaction times than those who got high from smoking pot. Google has been trying to work its way through this issue for several years now, but they have not found a definitive solution yet.
Lopez said safety is “a priority” for the Android Auto product team, motivating them to work closely with OEMs to ensure the experience is fully integrated into the car’s design to minimize distractions.
In addition to customizing screens in different sizes, Google is also rolling out several other updates. Users will now be able to respond to canned text messages that they can send with a single click.
There are also several entertainment options. Android Automotive, Google’s built-in Android Auto system, will now support Tubi TV and Epix Now streaming services. And owners of Android phones can stream their own content directly to their car screen.