Android 8.0 Brings Multi Device Connectivity over Bluetooth HFP to Android Automotive In-Vehicle Infotainment Systems
Android 8.0 Oreo may seem like a small update over Android 7 Nougat on the surface. But once you go digging through the various changes, there are a lot of new features and improvements that enhance the overall Android experience across the various hardware ecosystems. This article talks about a few changes to Android Automotive based on Android 8.0 Oreo that enhances the bluetooth-based experience on In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) systems.
Android Automotive is an actual Android-based operating system designed for vehicles, different from Android Auto. Android Auto is a system that allows you to connect your phone to your car dashboard display to use certain useful applications, such as Maps, Music, or voice access. Android Automotive is much more tightly-integrated with the features of your car – depending on the set-up, it can even control various sensors and switches in the vehicle. You can read more about Android Automotive over here.
The first set of improvements comes in the area of Bluetooth connectivity. Android 8.0 Oreo on Android Automotive creates a more seamless Bluetooth user experience when connecting devices to the IVI systems. The IVI can now listen for specific events, such as unlocking a car door or starting the engine, and then begin automatically scanning for in-range Bluetooth devices.
In previous versions of Android Automotive, Bluetooth on the IVI scanned for devices only when the Bluetooth adapter was powered on. If the IVI Bluetooth was on and then the device came within range, the user would need to intervene to connect the device manually as there was no provision for automated scanning when no devices were connected.
In Android 8.0 Oreo through Android Automotive, the OEM can specify and customize trigger events that can cause the Bluetooth to scan for in-range devices to pair with, provided the Bluetooth adapter is on and not already connected to a device. These trigger engines can range from unlocking the door to starting the engine. The IVI Bluetooth will prioritize the most recently connected device in the default implementation.
Further, the IVI can now support multiple devices connected simultaneously over Bluetooth. Multi-device Bluetooth phone services lets users connect separate devices, such as a personal phone and a work phone, and make hands-free calls from either device. This feature aims to increase driving safety by reducing distractions and improving the in-call experience while driving. The Bluetooth Hands-Free Profile (HFP) allows two concurrent connections wherein each connection registers as a separate phone account on the IVI and the IVI apps. Outgoing calls use the last connected device, while the Dialer app does not intentionally indicate which device an incoming call is coming from, by default. OEMs do have the option to change this behaviour by customizing the Dialer app.
Source: Android Source