After a long delay, Google’s big revamp of Android Auto is finally here. This new version of Android Auto places great emphasis on the new split screen interface, which is much more fluid than the old and solid Android Auto screen. This update was first shown At the Google I/O conference It was promised in the summer of 2022, but somehow it’s been pushed back to CES 2023. Car apps have a lot of safety regulations to follow.
Android Auto is an app on your phone that sends a dedicated interface (wireless or wired) to the compatible car’s dashboard. Unlike regular Android, which can be resized to any display size or shape, Android Auto was originally designed strictly around a horizontal screen ratio of 16:9. It has been updated over the years to be a little more flexible, But she always wanted to live in this horizontal, widescreen configuration. However, not all car screens are wide, and for cars like the Volvo XC90, which had a large 4:3 iPad-style screen in the center console, Android Auto was in a small window in the middle of the screen. Some manufacturers gave it a letter or column box. Apple’s CarPlay received the same Flexibility update in iOS 13.
Unlike the old version, the split screen interface should be able to adapt to any rectangular screen. There are three components: the navigation bar, the main application interface, and a smaller sidebar section that can display one or two additional widgets. They can all be configured to match the shape of the screen. The navigation bar can be on the right or bottom side. The main app interface can be next to the sidebar section or stacked on top. The sidebar can be a long vertical bar or a thin horizontal bar. Some configuration will work!
The sidebar is the most interesting new addition to Android Auto. It seems to work just like Android’s notification bar but it’s big for cars. It can show controls for the currently playing media or media suggestions. It can switch to split screen mode, where the top item will show your most recent notification, which could be an incoming text message, an option to share your arrival time, or the weather.
Some of those options are Google Assistant’s new smart suggestions, which include “missed call reminders, quick access time sharing, and instant access to music or podcasts. Onscreen shortcuts speed up replies to messages and call to favorite contacts.”
Google is also adding a searchable action bar for the Android Auto music and podcasts apps, which will be automatically applied to every Android Auto media app. Android Auto’s car security regulations mean app developers can’t do things like design a user interface – Google has a pre-made media interface that Spotify, YouTube Music and every other media app needs – developers only offer media streaming, branding colors and a choice of a few Button options. This pre-built interface is updated, so every app will have 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 car configuration.
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