Skip to main content

It seems like CD players and onboard navigation systems in cars have all been replaced by phone integration software like Android Auto. It makes sense, considering Android Auto allows the user to use many of the applications like Google Maps, Spotify, and Google Assistant right on the car’s infotainment screen. However, many infotainment systems never allowed for the software’s split-screen display, until now.

Android Auto is getting refreshed to fit a wider variety of infotainment screens

Close-up of icon reading Android Auto on a vehicle display.
Close-up of icon reading Android Auto on a vehicle display. | Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

The beauty of the split-screen display is that it allows Android Auto users to access navigation, messages, and the media player all from one screen, reports The Verge. Previously, only select infotainment screens were able to use the split-screen display. But now, every infotainment system will have it.

Yes, that includes Mercedes-Benz’s Hyperscreen, which is found in the new EQS. As you can imagine, the 56-inch display is far different than those found in other cars. The same can be said for the 33-inch infotainment display found in the Cadillac Lyriq.

Rod Lopez, lead product manager at Android Auto told The Verge: “We used to have a different screen mode that was available in a very limited amount of cars. Now, this is available no matter what type of display you have, what size, what form factor, and it’s a really, really exciting update.”

Google says that Android Auto will now conform to unique screen sizes and shapes

An Audi infotainment system with Google Maps on display.
An Audi infotainment system with Google Maps on display. | Andrej Sokolow/picture alliance via Getty Images

While the size of an infotainment screen can pose some issues, it’s also clear that not every infotainment screen is shaped the same. According to Google, Android Auto will now conform seamlessly to all types of infotainment screen shapes as well – even the vertical ones.

“We’ve seen some really interesting innovation from the industry, going to these very large portrait displays going into these extremely wide landscape displays,” Lopez said. “And you know, the coolness is Android Auto will now support all of them and will be able to adapt, giving you all of these features at your fingertips as a user.”

Distracted driving while using Android Auto is an issue that Google is working on

photo illustration of a phone with the android auto icon on it.
The Android Auto logo is seen displayed on a smartphone. | Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Of course, with the ability for drivers to use a system like Android Auto on their car’s massive or odd-shaped infotainment screen, there’s a higher chance of distracted driving. Google understands this concern and is working with automakers to lessen the frequency of distracted driving. As part of the solution, Google is rolling out other updates that will allow users to respond to text messages with a standard response and “just one tap,” The Verge noted.

One curious part, though, is that while preventing distracted driving is top of mind for Google, it also rolled out more entertainment options. Android Auto can now support Tubi TV and Epix Now streaming services, and Android phone users will be able to display their own content from their phone onto the infotainment system.

That sounds like it could potentially further distract drivers, however, it will at least entertain the passengers for hours – no matter which type of car they’re in.


Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Top Consumer Complaints