Google updates Android Auto to fit all touchscreens


Google follows Bruce Lee’s advice to be like water. You put Android Auto in a screen, it becomes the screen.
GIF: Google

Google is redesign Android-Auto interface to fit all kinds of touch screens, regardless of size and shape. Google said the redesign will come in an update this summer and will increase Android Auto’s compatibility with different screen layouts by defaulting to a split-screen mode that puts all the important features in one place. Basically they are tiles, and now they move according to your car screen layout.

Because even though automotive infotainment looks simple at a glance – it’s either a big or a small rectangle, elongated or upright – touchscreens vary widely from vehicle to vehicle. So getting an interface to work with all (or at least most) of them requires a flexible approach. Especially now that the screens are slow replacement of buttons and dials for many basic entries.

Whether we like it or not, touch screens invade the dashboard. And many automakers are going further, like with the 56-inch MBUX hyperdisplay in the 2022 Mercedez-Benz EQS. That’s plenty of space for Siri or the Google Assistant! Hence the need for an adaptable interface.

In order to accommodate many infotainment setups, Google asked automakers for help. In an interview with the The edgeRod Lopez, Head of Android Auto, said: “[O]Our approach has been to work closely with these OEMs to make sure things make sense and work.

Presumably, this means the main infotainment features: navigation, media and communication. These functions, like Google calls they must be clear and easy to use in the car. But these often have to share screen space with vehicle-specific elements like the HVAC, and the layout of these elements differs from car to car. By working with automakers, Google was able to adapt Android Auto to these necessities, keeping things flexible.

Of course, another feature/function that Google and Apple should keep an eye on is security. That brings us back to the Google Assistant, which is also being updated with features that are supposed to make smartphone integration safer.

Google says the Assistant will respond to voice commands as before, but will now make suggestions when texting back or calling your favorite contacts. These contextual suggestions are meant to reduce the time drivers spend digging through menus, reducing commands to a single click in some cases.

I do not know. I think secure smartphone integration is an oxymoron. Less smartphone integration is the best, but I know. I know. Touch screens have won. They took our phones, and now our cars. The best we can hope for are better interfaces with broad compatibility. It seems to go in that direction.

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