Google and Qualcomm put Android Auto in command of this Maserati
It isn’t typically you get to take a seat in a Maserati. And I by no means thought I might get the prospect at a developer convention, of all locations. However right here at I/O, Google and Qualcomm have outfitted a Maserati with a completely distinctive Android Auto setup. Identical to a Tesla, this car has an enormous 4K touchscreen instead of a typical console, and there is one other 720p show the place the speedometer sometimes sits.
However as an alternative of Android Auto operating solely whenever you hook up your telephone to the automotive, the whole lot on this car is managed by Google’s OS. For as soon as, in different phrases, Android Auto does not need to compete together with your automaker’s horrible inventory interface. Whereas I am not but satisfied that a touchscreen is the best choice for controlling issues just like the automotive’s local weather, it is nonetheless fascinating to see simply how a lot of the car might be taken over by Android.
Functionally, what makes this automotive notable is that it is operating Android N and is ready to show info throughout three practical areas. The massive, vertically-oriented touchscreen might be cut up into totally different panes. The decrease half all the time exhibits your “present” exercise, whereas the highest half is a rotating set of playing cards that present your current exercise. So should you’re enjoying music after which go to start out a telephone name, the music widget will transfer to the highest so you possibly can simply entry it once more later.
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The minimalist “dashboard” shows a fake-speedometer and gasoline gauge on the left, whereas the appropriate aspect is reserved for notifications and knowledge from Android. Once more, it sometimes exhibits your most up-to-date or related exercise; should you’re utilizing navigation, it’s going to present your subsequent flip, for instance. But when one thing modifications in one other app, you will get a delicate notification that slides in from the appropriate to provide you with a warning. (It is just like a brand new notification in Android Put on 2.zero, in the event you’re retaining monitor.)
In case you skip to the subsequent music in a playlist, Google Play Music will slide in with the brand new monitor information earlier than receding into the background. If somebody calls you, their contact image and identify will present up till you reply. It is bizarre to think about your automotive having a notification middle, however it looks like a sensible means of organizing all of Android Auto’s numerous options.
Talking of the type, Android Auto’s core options stay the identical. You should use your voice to make telephone calls, request navigation instructions, play music and ask Google numerous questions. It integrates with a semi-restricted set of third-social gathering apps and is usually meant to allow you to entry particular instruments or information out of your telephone with out having to take your arms off the steering wheel.
However this model of Android can also be ok to deal with options which are sometimes left to the auto producer. For example, you possibly can regulate the local weather controls, energy home windows and door appears with the Android interface — one thing you usually cannot do in different automobiles. When you’ve hung out coping with the horrible interfaces that dominate most automobiles, this can be a tempting idea — placing apart the query of how protected it’s to have a touchscreen be the one interface aspect in your automotive apart from a couple of steering wheel buttons.
Do not get your hopes as much as see a automotive with this technique anytime quickly, although: This was strictly an train for Google and Qualcomm to see what they might do utilizing the Maserati as a clean canvas. Automakers are probably going to withstand letting know-how corporations take over their dashboards for the close to future, however it’s nonetheless enjoyable to think about what it might be like in case your whole automotive ran Android.
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Nathan is a senior editor at Engadget and was previously an editor at The Verge. A semi-current San Francisco resident by means of Boston, Nathan covers Google, gaming, apps and providers (particularly music), bizarre web tradition and rather more. He’ll evaluate nearly any odd piece of hardware that comes his method. In his spare time, Nathan enjoys the superior meals SF has to supply and loves taking pictures round northern California.