Android Auto gets a significant usability boost with its first major visual update since 2019.
The update will be deployed during the northern summer, so between June and August 2022.
Although the graphics still look familiar, a split-screen layout is now available on all screen types and sizes.
Currently, only certain infotainment screens support split-screen layout. For example, Mazda’s 10.25-inch system does this, unlike the 10.25-inch displays in Genesis, Hyundai, and Kia models.
The split-screen layout lets you have navigation and media information visible on the screen at the same time, saving you the hassle of endlessly switching between apps.
In the example shown by Google, the blocks for media and messaging appear to the left of the map on a landscape-oriented infotainment screen, but move below the map on a portrait-oriented screen.
The change means Android Auto will adapt to any touchscreen size.
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“We’ve seen some really cool innovations from the industry, ranging from these very large portrait screens to these extremely wide landscape screens,” Android Auto senior product manager Rod Lopez told The Verge.
“And you know, the cool thing is that Android Auto will now support them all and be able to adapt, giving you all those features at your fingertips as a user.”
Google is also introducing contextual suggestions, such as suggested replies to messages you can tap to send, while Google Assistant can even recommend music.
The company also says you’ll be able to quickly send messages and call your favorite contacts with just one click if you don’t feel like using voice prompts.
Meanwhile, cars with Google built-in, like the Polestar 2 and, by mid-2022, the entire Volvo range, will soon support YouTube and video streaming apps like Tubi and Epix Now.
This is handy, for example, if you’re parked at a charging station for your Polestar 2.
Google is also working on the ability to browse the web directly from the car screen and also lets you stream content from your phone to the screen.