At its annual I/O conference, Google announced that Android Auto, its popular in-car smartphone connectivity interface, is set to get a comprehensive overhaul. The main improvements will be towards making the software more flexible and enhancing its usability.
- Android Auto will scale to fit a variety of screens
- Google Assistant to get an upgrade
- Update to be rolled out over the coming months
Android Auto will adjust to fit all screens
The main issue the new update will address is the user interface (UI) inconsistency across a variety of screen sizes and shapes. As carmakers design different screens to suit their respective cars’ interiors, Android Auto has to scale and adjust to suit. The screens may be landscape or portrait in orientation, and even so, may vary in aspect ratio – for example, 16:9 in a Hyundai i20, 4:3 in a Land Rover Defender or 9:16 in a Volvo XC60.
Split-screen functionality was also an option available only on a handful of vehicles, and where it was not, the Android Auto’s active functions appeared small and in the centre, with big brackets around it.
Google says Android Auto now has the ability to scale and conform to any screen, regardless of its shape or size, and can also make split-screen functionality available in any vehicle.
Focus on favourite Android Auto functions
Google is also giving Android Auto an aesthetic upgrade, with the general UI as well as the overall layout closely following the ‘Material Design’ template of the latest Android devices. Moreover, there will be a rethink of the UI’s primary interface. According to Google’s data, most consumers primarily use Android Auto for three functions – navigation, media and communication. As such, the Android Auto screen will now be have dedicated tiles for these three functions. User can see all three options on the screen at all times, and can then tap on one function to have it fill the screen.
Google Assistant will work better
Last but not least, Google Assistant – the brand’s voice-operated search and command interface – will been given an upgrade too. It will automatically suggest replies to your messages and can even share your estimated time of arrival with a contact. It will also suggest new music and playlists based on your listening history.
These changes will roll out gradually over ‘the coming months’, according to Google, and could vary based on your vehicle and mobile device as well.
Do you prefer Android Auto or Apple CarPlay to a car’s native infotainment interface? Let us know in the comments section below.