Google has released an update for its Android Auto, with an emphasis on improving the touchscreen experience for all types of vehicles.
The update now enables split-screen display, which will be standard for all cars using Android Auto. This new display will enable easier and faster access to the main features, including navigation, messages, and media player. You won’t need to jump from one screen to another. Before this update, only a category of vehicles had the split-screen display feature.
Ron Lopez, lead product manager for Android Auto, said, “We used to have a different screen mode that was available in a very limited amount of cars. Now this is available no matter what type of display you have, what size, what form factor, and it’s a really, really exciting update.”
In addition, Android Auto will automatically resize and reposition itself to fit any screen, regardless of size. This capability is vital as carmakers now use many forms of displays in their cars, including medium and extra-large screens and different orientations. Some cars even come with extra-wide screens.
“We’ve seen some really interesting innovation from the industry, going to these very large portrait displays going into these extremely wide landscape displays,” Lopez said. “And you know, the coolness is Android Auto will now support all of them, and will be able to adapt, giving you all of these features at your fingertips as a user.”
Some cars with extra-wide screens include the Mercedes-Benz EQS, which offers a side-to-side touch-enabled screen measuring 56 inches. It is known as the Hyperscreen, although for practical purposes, it is composed of three different screens lined up beside one another. Another car with a massive screen is the Cadillac Lyriq’s, measuring 33 inches. According to Lopez, Google has worked closely with these carmakers to make Android Auto work for the massive infotainment displays.
Lopez continued, “That was part of the new motivation behind this redesign, was being able to adapt our product better to these vehicles that are coming out with these massive portrait displays and massive widescreen displays. And so our approach has been working really closely with these OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] to make sure that things make sense and they work.”
There is, however, a potential drawback for these jumbo-sized screens. Some experts have warned that they are more likely to distract drivers. In fact, a study has shown that when drivers try to select music with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, they react to things that need their attention slower than drivers high from smoking pot. Google has taken note of this problem but has yet to proffer a workable solution.
Apart from the display update, Android Auto users can now reply to a text message with a pre-composed message using a single tap. Android Auto has also added support for Tubi TV and Epix Now, increasing the in-car entertainment options. You can also cast content from your smartphone screen to the car’s display.