Google I/O has seen a bunch of major announcements, including the likes of the Pixel 6a and some details on what’s coming with Android 13 later this year. Google has also announced (opens in new tab) some long-awaited changes to Android Auto, including a refreshed design and brand new features.
We’ve heard about the possibility of an Android Auto design refresh already, but there has never been any indication as to when it would arrive. The main addition to Android Auto is the new split-screen mode, which ensures all the most popular features are readily available — the idea being that you don’t need to navigate the apps list on your homescreen while you’re driving.
Split screen also comes with always-on navigation and media. After all, nothing is worse than missing your turning because you had to do something that Google Assistant couldn’t quite figure out for some reason.
The best part is that the new design is capable of adapting to a specific car’s screen — no matter its size or design.
Speaking of Google Assistant, Android Auto and Google Assistant are going to get closer with the new update. Assistant will get the ability to make contextual suggestions while you’re driving, because the less you have to focus on Android Auto the more you can concentrate on the road ahead.
Examples Google has given include returning missed calls, sharing arrival times, and personalized music recommendations.
If you’d rather not use your voice to communicate when you’re on the road, Android Auto is offering a bunch of ways to communicate with a single tap. Supported options will be the ability to call favorite contacts and to choose a suggested response to quickly send messages.
If you’re driving one of the rare cars that has Google’s Android Automotive OS built-in, you’ll also find that there’s slightly better support for streaming. We’re still not getting support for the likes of Netflix, but Tubi TV and Epix Now will be joining YouTube as streaming options in your car, alongside the ability to browse the web. Of course, safety reasons mean that video streaming apps will only work when the car isn’t moving.
Google promises that the new Android Auto design will roll out “just in time for the summer”. That suggests it will arrive sometime between now and the end of June — though an exact launch date hasn’t been announced.