Android Auto updated: new look, better split-screen functionality

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Android Auto users are queuing up for a fairly sizable update coming soon. Google unveiled an all-new look and design for Android Auto at its Google I/O event last week, and the main takeaway is renewed flexibility.

Car manufacturers are not exactly consistent with the different screen sizes and orientations used in vehicles. Many prefer a widescreen format, while others prefer a vertically oriented portrait format, and there are so many others in between. This was previously problematic for Android Auto, as it wasn’t designed to perfectly fill the screen with every possible screen shape. In addition, a fancy split screen feature was only supported for a small number of vehicles. Now, however, Google says it has fixed the problem. Android Auto now adapts to the size and shape of your car’s screen, whether it’s long and thin or short and wide. And a new split screen feature should work on any vehicle.

In addition to the better integration, the look and feel of Android Auto itself has been revamped to bring it more in line with the latest Android software you see on phones. The fonts, shapes, and general user interface should now look more familiar to those with Android phones running stock Android software.

The previously mentioned split screen mode is also getting a new design for this version of Android Auto. Google says the data it has collected on how people use Android Auto shows that people mainly use it for navigation, media and communication. That’s why the split screen view now consists of three tiles for those three things. This means that you can always see your navigation system, current media and any missed communications (texts, phone calls) in one place. Of course you can also simply enlarge them if you prefer to keep the focus on one particular app, such as navigation.

The last announced change from Google for this new Android Auto is better Assistant integration. The car will proactively suggest replies to text messages from friends, or you can quickly share an arrival time with a person of your choice. It will even recommend music options.

All of these changes will be rolled out “in the coming months,” so if you’re an Android Auto user, keep an eye out for a new look and new features hitting your car’s infotainment system this summer.

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