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Android Auto Needs to Fix a Few Things

July 31, 2015 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Here we are a few months into Android Auto’s lifetime. With more and more cars popping up with Android Auto inside, as well as more head units becoming available. There are still a few things that we think Google needs to fix with Android Auto. While these may sound like we are nitpicking, they are all legit things that should be fixed on Android Auto. While it’s still beta, things are changing and changing quickly. But here’s what we’d like to see fixed.

Maps

So here you have Google Maps. And there actually a few things I’d like to see added here. A lot of car maker’s infotainment systems use navigation and show the current speed limit. While I was using the Hyundai Sonata, I really liked that feature. As it allowed me to see what the speed limit was, if I was in a new area. Something else I’d like to see with Maps (and a reader actually brought this up not too long ago), is offline access. Being able to download maps and use them offline. This is important because if you are driving into another country, roaming data gets pretty pricey. For instance, I’m in the Detroit area and go over to Canada all the time. Using Maps over there would cost me quite a bit of cash. The last thing I’d like to see is the option to use other mapping services. One that I keep hearing is Nokia’s HERE Maps. It would be nice to be able to choose, after all Android is open.

App Picker

Okay, so this really only exists in the media section of Android Auto. But, if you have more than three apps installed that work with Android Auto, then you have a big scrolling list. That’s not the best way to do this, as Phil from Android Central had pointed out. While having these big touch targets are great for while you’re driving, there’s still a better way to accomplish this, I think. Whether that be to allow users to reorganize the list, or put the top three apps at the top. Or even do 6 squares there on the screen, so there’s less need to scroll to find the app you want to use. I know I’ll get a lot of hate for this, but something similar to Apple’s interface would do well. As they are still big touch targets, but involve much less scrolling.

Using Hangouts for Calls

Currently, if you want to make a call in the car, it’s going to be using the dialer app on your phone. Which means it’s using your phone’s number. However, if you use Google Voice, you want to use Hangouts, which is not possible at this time. I know this is a first world problem, and a geek problem. But think about it, who’s using Android Auto? Us geeks. Because Google Voice/Hangouts doesn’t work for calls in the car, I have yet to use that feature myself.