Google’s new Android Auto interface works with any screen size

Enlarge / The many sizes of Android Auto.

Google / Ron Amadeo

Android Auto, Google’s car interface app for Android, gets a new, more flexible design at Google I/O. Android Auto previously required a fairly rigid screen format. It couldn’t handle things like large, vertically oriented car screens, and often resorted to pillar boxing or letterboxing the UI to keep a reasonable layout. Now Google says the interface is “designed to fit any screen size” thanks to a new panel design.

Google says “there are three main features that drivers prioritize in their cars: navigation, media, and communication,” and Android Auto’s redesign puts each of those interfaces in its own panel. Maps get the biggest main panel, media and communication panels are stacked next to each other, and there’s a combined status/navigation bar. To accommodate the millions of different screen sizes, these elements can be arranged in the orientation that works best in the car.

An example, close to the current Android Auto setup, shows the drop-down bar oriented vertically against the side of the screen, followed by a vertical stack of messages and media panels, then a large Google panel Maps. Another example of a more vertical screen design shows a large Google Maps panel above the message and media panels, with the drop-down bar at the bottom. Things can be arranged to fit.

The new interface will be released “this summer”.

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