Android Auto Will Soon Arrive in New Cars
After remarking on the prominent use of smartphones in America while people are driving—”even though that is illegal,” Google’s Patrick Brady quipped—Google unveiled Android Auto, an initiative to connect Android phones to in-car screen and microphone systems. Brady said it would arrive in new cars by the end of 2015.
“Android Auto will make it easier and safer to use the connected services drivers want in a car,” Brady said, listing the most popular kinds of apps used by drivers: navigation, communication, music, and streaming media.
“Android puts these front and center so you don’t have to find the apps that are most important to you in the car,” Brady said. “Most importantly, Android Auto is completely voice enabled, so you can keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.” A Google staffer sat in a makeshift car seat to demonstrate Android Auto. After connecting his Android smartphone to his car using Bluetooth, he used a mix of the car’s built-in touch panel, steering wheel buttons, and his own voice to do things like check for museum hours, send messages, play music, and load maps.
The interface on car screens was a modified version of Android, and the Google Maps app, in particular, displayed giant buttons in its demo, assumedly to minimize hunt-and-pecking for drivers who choose touch over voice. “Everything runs on the phone,” Brady confirmed, meaning Android Auto’s upgrade path, including visual interface and other elements, will be phone-based, not car-based.