While much of the attention has been on mobile from Google I/O, Android Auto has its own deserved moment in the spotlight. Google is set to launch a major overhaul of Android Auto later this year and ultimately looks ready to make it ideal 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.
Android Auto’s new look revolves around a split user interface, similar to Apple CarPlay, where you have more key features on screen at all times. Even better, it will apply to all screen sizes. Whether you have a traditional 16:9 panel in your car, one of the new super long screens, or something with more verticality, Android Auto will adapt and deliver the same new experience for everyone.
With the new design, you’ll have quick access to navigation, media and communications and Google will take advantage of the assistant even further in the car. It can provide contextual suggestions to help you interact with minimal distractions. If you receive a message, it can suggest quick replies, forward missed calls, and even suggest music to listen to. Even with this awesome new UI, the less you have to look and dig into it, the better.
The update is expected to arrive this summer and it will definitely make a big difference to the experience. Android Automotive, Google’s dedicated in-car operating system, is also attracting attention, with upcoming improvements for the parking experience. After all, why should Tesla owners have 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 big-screen tablet experience and it looks like a fair comparison. After all, in-car screens are looking more and more like tablets.
Navigation is also a priority for Google, with Vivaldi not the only in-car browser for Android Automotive in the future, it seems. This is all on top of the great casting feature announced in the keynote, where you can use your car’s screen as a casting target for your smartphone media.
For an overview of all that’s new for cars, both for drivers and developers, be sure to check out the dedicated Google I/O session, What’s New in Android for Cars.