While there’s a lot of focus on mobile from Google I/O, Android Auto has its own deserved moment in the spotlight. Google will launch a major Android Auto design later this year and Finally looks so great to use in the car. Android Auto has been around for a while, but has often frustrated users in a place where you can’t afford frustration.
The fresh new look of Android Auto revolves around a split user interface, not unlike Apple CarPlay, where you have more important functions on the screen at once. Even better, it applies to all screen sizes. Whether you have a traditional 16:9 panel in your car, one of the new beautiful super-long screens or something with more verticality, Android Auto adapts and offers everyone the same new experience.
With the new design you have quick access to navigation, media and communication and Google will use Assistant even further in the car. It can provide contextual suggestions to help you communicate with minimal distraction. When you get a message, it can suggest quick replies, answer 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.
The update will arrive this summer and will definitely make a big difference to the experience. Android Automotive is also getting attention, Google’s special operating system for in the car, with improvements to the parking experience. After all, why should Tesla owners have all the fun?
YouTube support was previously revealed, but Google is also expanding in-car video playback to third-party services, initially including Tubi and Epix. It’s been compared to a tablet experience on a big screen and that feels like a fair comparison. After all, in-car displays are becoming more and more tablet-like.
Browsing is also a focus for Google, with Vivaldi not appearing to be the only in-car browser for Android Automotive in the future. This is all in addition to the big casting feature announced in the keynote, where you can use your car’s display as a media casting target from your smartphone.
To see all that’s new to cars, both for drivers and developers, check out the special Google I/O session, which is new with Android for cars.