In late June, Google officially introduced Android Auto, a new way for Android users to experience the platform while in an automobile. The platform is essentially an extension of their Android smartphone, with a specialized user interface designed for easy access to certain features on a large display. It’s scheduled to launch in late 2014, but the Android Developers blog has posted an overview of the features, showcasing some of what’s to come later this year.
As Google points out in the overview, Android Auto is designed to minimize distraction for the driver, both from the design of the user interface to implementation of features like voice control. The optimized feature set, design and user interface are all designed to make the experience easier, while essentially extending the Android experience from the phone into the vehicle:
“Android Auto extends the Android platform into the car. When users connect their Android handheld device to a compatible vehicle, Android Auto provides a car-optimized Android experience on the vehicle’s screen. Users interact with compatible apps and services through voice actions and the vehicle’s input controls.”
Features like notifications, for example, will simply be the same as they are on the owner’s Android smartphone, but the notifications will show up on the Android Auto display for easy access. Google also points out that the first version of Android Auto is all about media, with the focus being on apps like live audio, radio broadcasts, podcasts, and music. There is, obviously, also a big focus on communication and navigation.
Google is also taking a bit of a heavy hand when it comes to the general look and feel of Android Auto, in the same way that they are keeping the design similar across the board (thanks to Material Design) with Android TV and Android Wear. While developers can make some changes to the primary application user interface, the changes are mainly aesthetic, as can be seen in the image at the top of the article, with the standard user interface on the left and customization options on the right.
One final bit that the developer overview points out is “Day and Night Transitions,” which does exactly what you might expect: the interface will automatically transition to a darker screen and back to a bright screen when the time of day calls for it.
You can check out the rest of the developer overview through the source link below. Are you looking forward to Android Auto?