Android Auto, Google’s car interface app for Android, gets a new, more flexible design on the Google I/O. Android Auto previously required a fairly rigid screen aspect ratio. It couldn’t handle things like large, vertically oriented car screens, and often resorted to pillarboxing or letterboxing of the UI to maintain a reasonable layout. Now Google says the user interface is “designed to adapt to any screen size” thanks to a new panel design.
Google says “there are three main functions that drivers prioritize in their cars: navigation, media and communications,” and Android Auto’s new design puts each of these interfaces in their own panel. Maps get the largest, main window, media and comms windows are stacked side by side, and there is a combined status/navigation bar. To accommodate the millions of different screen sizes, these elements can be arranged in any orientation that works best in the car.
An example, close to the current Android Auto configuration, shows the combo bar aligned vertically down the side of the screen, followed by a vertical stack of the message and media boxes, then a large Google Maps box. Another example of a more vertical screen design shows a large Google Maps panel above the message and media panels and the combo bar below. Things can be arranged to suit.
The new user interface will come out “this summer”.