Android Auto gets upgrade to fit different sized touchscreens in cars

Vehicle touchscreens are evolving, with manufacturers getting creative in how they package the displays in their newer cars. Google has taken notice of this, and they have announced a refresh of Android Auto with a focus on this evolving nature of touch screens.

The update is in the form of a new split-screen display that is standard for all Android Auto users, allowing them to access key features including navigation, media player, and messages all from one screen.

In the past, the split-screen functionality was only available to a few vehicle brands, moving forward it will be standard for all Android Auto customers.

“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,” said Rod Lopez, lead product manager for Android Auto.

Android Auto will be able to adapt to any type of touchscreen, from portrait style ones all the way to the long vertical ones.

“We’ve seen some really interesting innovation from the industry, going to these very large portrait displays going into these extremely wide landscape displays 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.” Rod Lopez added.

Lopez acknowledges that screens will only continuously get bigger, especially in luxury vehicles. For instance, the Mercedes-Benz EQS has a 56-inch wide Hyperscreen, while the Cadillac Lyriq has a 33-inch LED infotainment display.

Rod Lopez says this trend has forced Google to partner with automakers to better adapt Android Auto to this trend. “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 to make sure that things make sense, and they work,” said Rod Lopez.

On the other hand, as the displays get larger, the likelihood that drivers get distracted also grows. Lopez says that safety is their priority and the work they put in together with OEMs ensures the experience is integrated with the design of the car to minimize distraction.

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Alongside the split-screen update, the company is rolling out several other improvements to Android Auto, including the ability to reply to text messages with standardized replies that users can send with just a single tap.

Also, Android Auto will now support Tubi TV as well as Epix Now Streaming services, making it possible to watch movies on the go or when taking a break from driving. Furthermore, you will now be able to cast your own content onto the car’s screen if you are rocking an Android device.

The split-screen update is not yet active, but Google says it will be ready ‘just in time for the summer’ which indicates at least one month from now.

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Naftaly is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for tech, video games and pop culture. When he is not writing articles for AndroidKenya, he is probably rewatching the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the hundredth time. Email at Twitter @KarisNaftaly

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