Google launches new Android Auto interface, scalable to any screen size

Unveiled at CES 2023, the new “Android Auto experience” comes with an Android 13-inspired design and expanded functionality.

According to Google, the new Android Auto design focuses on three key objectives: “navigation to your desired destination, communication with friends or family, and access to music or podcast playback features.” To facilitate these things, the new design has resorted to “moving the Maps card closer to the driver’s seat”, towards the left side of the screen. So drivers won’t have to look so far to see where they’re going.

Google has also adapted the media playback card to the Material You design in Android 13, affecting the way the song album art is represented in playback. Also, a new quick launcher appears on the left side of the screen, where users can quickly access recently used apps without switching to another menu. Google says its new split-screen layout can adapt to any display format, no matter how tall or wide.

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As for the newly added capabilities, Google Assistant can now provide context-based suggestions that are useful while you’re behind the wheel. For example, when you receive a message, it will be announced and you’ll be able to reply using voice dictation. Also through Google Assistant you’ll find out about missed calls and receive other relevant information such as estimated time to destination, suggestions for songs to listen to, etc.

With a different look and feel, the new interface is optimised for simpler interaction using fewer controls on the touch interface and introduces a customisable colour palette that’s easier to adapt to your car’s design.

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At the same time, Android Auto can be set to start your favourite navigation app directly when you start your vehicle, without interrupting the music playing. In navigation mode, the interface can display visual directions in traffic even when using the screen to access other apps on your phone. Selecting a destination can be done by choosing from a list of recent routes, or by using the voice command “Hey Google” to indicate the desired location.

Another new feature is the addition of Car Key support for Samsung and Xiaomi phone owners, which will soon be able to be used for vehicle access, replacing the car’s access card.

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