Developers will be able to build media apps for cars running Android Automotive OS
Since its first iteration, Android Auto has been a fairly barebones automobile infotainment operating system. A lot of this is by design due to the potential safety issues, but some of it is just the OS not being mature enough to be considered fully featured. Since launch, people have been asking Google to let media applications (for things such as music and podcasts) be made for the platform. Many have said Google is dragging their feet with this feature request but today they have announced that developers of media apps can now begin work on their Android Automotive platform.
Now, Google’s Android Automotive OS shouldn’t be confused with Android Auto. They are similar in some ways, but Android Auto is Google’s way of letting millions of users bring apps they use on their smartphones into cars. The Android Automotive OS is the software that’s installed in the car’s infotainment system. It’s this platform that media application developers have been wanting to bring their apps to. Again, this hasn’t been as easy as some would think thanks to a variety of screen sizes, input methods, OEM customizations, and regional driver safety guidelines.
To help alleviate some of the friction points from developers, Google has built upon the same Android Auto framework that some developers are already using. These applications will be available via its own section in the Google Play Store in the Android Automotive OS and the company even talks about taking this idea beyond media apps. We’re encouraged to check out this demonstrated on the upcoming Polestar 2 with Android Automotive OS at Google I/O 2019.
Developers attending or watching the recorded sessions will want to pay attention to this session titled How to Build Android Apps for Cars. Those who are attending this year’s Google I/O developer event can even test apps using the Android Automotive OS reference unit in the Codelabs area.