As part of their 11 weeks of Android Google have been focusing on the changes under the hood for developers to help them get their apps ready for Android 11. Overnight it was Android Auto’s turn with new changes set to arrive very soon.

At the moment Android Auto supports over 3,000 apps in Google Play with each app being purpose-built for Android Auto and driving. Overnight Google showed off some of their early work from their partners of new apps in new categories of the Android Auto ecosystem.

The new categories include navigation, parking and electric vehicle charging and app developers can take advantage of the new Android for Cars App Library to “ensure that all tasks within an app can be achieved with minimal glances or taps”.

The new early access partners will be releasing new apps to beta testers by the end of the year but these partners are the only ones with access to these APIs at this stage. Further testing and feedback is required before the APIs are released publicly to all developers.

The new apps that are included in the partners list include mapping apps such as Sygic, TomTom and MapFactor along with charging locator apps such as Chargepoint, SpotHero and more.

Android Automotive OS

We have covered Android Automotive OS from the first time we heard about it and although it is yet to arrive in Australia that hasn’t dulled our excitement for it.

Google are also making it easier for developers to develop apps for Android Automotive OS and it is now possible for all developers to “develop, test and publish media apps directly on Google Play in the car”. The design guidelines and development documentation is now available publicly along with a new emulator and system images from the Polestar 2 to enable testing of apps.

Apps can also now be uploaded to the Play Console allowing developers to have their apps reviews and published.

Android Auto is a great automotive interface but let’s face it, for us Android users the ultimate is Android Automotive OS. As it becomes more mature over time it is possible it will come to Australia but given our extremely slow uptake of electric cars I wouldn’t be holding your breath.