Earlier this summer, Google announced new categories of apps coming to Android Auto, including navigation, parking, and electric vehicle charging apps. Starting today, developers everywhere can begin testing out these categories with the Android for Cars App Library open beta.
The library consists of developer tools along with 68 pages of design guidelines to help ensure apps are built with safety in mind. Google developed the Android for Cars App Library together with select partners like ChargePoint, SpotHero, and Sygic, but this new open beta is available to all developers to assist in designing, crafting, and testing new kinds of Android Auto apps. In the coming months, Google says that it will enable these beta apps to be published on the Google Play Store.
The DHU now supports simulating instrument clusters, widescreen head units, and touchpads.
There are also updates for the Desktop Head Unit simulator that lets developers test out Android Auto apps without needing to hop in an actual vehicle. The DHU now supports emulating apps on multiple screen sizes, showing info in the instrument cluster, and simulating vehicles that allow touchpad input.
It won't be long now before consumers start to see the rewards stemming from these new tools for developers. Driving may be down these days, but that doesn't mean Google's efforts to improve Android Auto have reached a red light.