Designing for Android Auto: What you need to know

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One of the biggest battles for major platform holders will be for the automotive. Google announced at their I/O developer conference earlier this year that the tech giant has plans to outpace competitors with Android Auto; but it stalled on providing most of the vital details.


Now Google has released a design template for Android Auto which developers must use when creating apps for the car. (It’s worth remembering at this point the “apps” function as extensions of an app running on a connected Android device; similar to Android Wear.)



The template – which shows off Google’s new Material Design – is being implemented for Android Auto apps so Google can ensure content is displayed in a safe manner whilst driving. This is something which is sure to have been implemented as a result of consultation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Developers will be able to fill Google’s custom layout with content, change colours, and provide text, but elements such as buttons have a fixed placement and size as to ensure functions are accessible without being a distraction.


Initial details at I/O were scarce, but to quell fears that Android Auto could be become another failed project, 40 partnerships were announced with some of the world’s most recognisable car manufacturers. Those who make the esteemed list are from the Google-founded Open Automotive Alliance, and include brands such as; Alfa Romeo, Audi, Bentley, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Renault, Seat, Škoda, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, VW, Volvo, and more.


The automotive app market is set to be huge. Apple is also courting the market with CarPlay, and has gained the interest of some large car manufacturers, but as of yet, Apple hasn’t been able to boast the same level of support as Google’s Android Auto.

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