People definitely use their phones when driving. Google admits this and it has announced Android Auto at Google I/O as part of the Open Automotive Alliance now with over 40 new partners. “We’ve redesigned the Android platform for automotive.” Navigation, communication, music. Those are the things that are “front and center.”
The new Android Moto is “contextually aware” and voice enabled. Wow, it totally has a Google Now style homescreen. The phone “casts” the Android Auto experience to the car’s screen. It’s compatible with steering wheel buttons, dials, etc. All the stuff on the car’s screen comes from the phone, and gets better if you get a better phone. The “overview” screen shows Google Now bits and recent destinations. There are tabs for navigation, phone, Home, Music, and a fifth tab that’s as-yet unidentified. Unfortunately seems it works well with cars that have touch screens which are not yet main stream this side of the Sahara.
A new Android Auto SDK
You can search and navigate just with your voice. Just like you do with your phone. It reads out your new messages to you. You can reply with your voice too, and it speaks back what you’re about to send to confirm it. The Android Auto SDK will let developers create apps for cars. Devs will get APIs for audio and messaging apps. Pandora, Songza, Stitcher, Spotify, Pocket Casts, and Tune In Radio all already work. Messaging apps work with voice, too.
The SDK will be published “soon” and the Android Auto “experience” will come out with Android L later this year. So Android L is hitting later this year, and so is Android Auto.