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The new version of Android Auto puts the map first and focuses on a split-screen experience


The new appearance of Android Auto is being made available to beta testers today, although it is not quite ready for public consumption just yet. The redesign that was hinted at early this year is now merely a beta version. It won’t be available in its entirety until 2023 at the earliest.

I had the opportunity to try out the newest version of Android Auto on one of Google’s test vehicles at the company’s headquarters. It is unquestionably more polished than what I’m utilising in my Subaru at the moment, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the beta version and see how it performs when I’m actually driving. The design places a renewed emphasis on the split-screen interface so that you may manage up to three things at the same time without taking the attention away from the primary reason there is a screen in your car: the map. This allows you to multitask more efficiently. In addition, as Google stated back in May, the user interface is designed to scale appropriately across a variety of screen sizes, from the largest to the smallest.

Split-screen mode available for each display

The new split-screen mode is arriving to all automobile displays, just as Google promised it would, and it makes greater use of the screen space that is now available. The new user interface divides itself into sections according to the urgency of the task that is now being performed, so switching playlists or making a phone call no longer need you to tap the screen many times. If you’re browsing for an album on Spotify, for example, the screen will enlarge the “card” dedicated to the media playing while keeping the remainder of the screen dedicated to Google Maps so that you don’t lose your spot in the map. This is done to ensure that you don’t get lost.

You may see a third card appear on the screen in certain circumstances. For instance, if a new message appears, you can choose to extend it into a corner of the interface by selecting the notice as it appears. It is less distracting than the present method that Android Auto uses to handle alerts, which plays back the message through a persistent pop-in window, obscuring a portion of the map in the process. This new method is more user-friendly. If you don’t interact with that third card very often, all it will do is show you the current weather.

While driving, it is much simpler to quickly glance at the split-screen card interface, and it does not deviate from its normal appearance. You should always expect your navigation app to be located on the left, closest to the driver’s side. However, in nations where the driving position is switched, the navigation app will be located on the right. On the other side, one or two of the cards display either music playback or information contextual to the song.

The new version of Android Auto puts the map first and focuses on a split-screen experience

In addition, the area of the dock has been condensed. Now, shortcuts are only available for the three capabilities of Android Auto that are deemed really necessary. The first icon will always reference the most recent navigation app that was used, the second icon will begin media playback, and the third icon will allow access to the numerous communication apps that are installed on your phone—whichever Android Auto determines that you use the most.