Android Auto Is Getting a Major Redesign After 8 Years

Android Auto Is Getting a Major Redesign After 8 Years

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay have altered how people interact with their vehicle’s infotainment systems. Since their introduction in the mid-2010s, both have allowed drivers to cast navigation apps, weather widgets, music interfaces, and (controversially) even text messages from their smartphones to their car’s touch screens. However, unlike Apple CarPlay, which is updated with each major iOS update, Android Auto has remained relatively stagnant over the years.

Google announced last week at CES 2023 that it is finally updating Android Auto. The first phase of the update, which is now available to all Android Auto users, includes an updated interface as well as a number of new features.

Users will notice that Google Maps has moved closer to the driver’s side of the vehicle, making navigation easier with fewer glances off the road. Android Auto is now compatible with vehicles with a variety of screen sizes thanks to a more variable split-screen arrangement (which has been in beta for what seems like forever). Cars equipped with Google, such as the Volvo EX90 and Polestar 3, will include Google’s new HD map, which is a more detailed version of the default map that includes road barriers, lane markers, signs, and other information useful for assisted and autonomous driving technology. Google Maps integration will also allow drivers to use Waze instead of Google Maps.

The new Android Auto

Google has also updated Android Auto with a number of new interactive features. Users can quickly access music and podcasts, and a seekable progress bar allows them to find a specific point within a track or episode. (Google must realize that using the forward and back buttons on your steering wheel is rarely worth the hassle.) Meanwhile, Google Assistant will use situational awareness to remind users of missed calls or prompt ETA sharing while driving. When it comes to missed calls, Google says users of Pixel and Samsung smartphones will soon have WhatsApp compatibility—though this update will come later in the rollout.

The Android Auto update also adds new digital car key options. While Pixel and iPhone users have been able to share their digital car keys for some time, Samsung and Xiaomi users will soon be able to do so as well. Digital car key sharing is currently available only to BMW drivers, but Google claims that more automakers will implement the technology soon.

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