Android Auto Beta Now Open to All, but Beware

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Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

If you drive a car that supports Android Auto, Google has opened a beta tester program to try new features before anyone else. After selecting the beta, you can help Google test features with your specific device and vehicle and share feedback to help the company improve the product.

Part of the appeal becomes Android users are you have access to software and applications before anyone else. This is a definite benefit if you know what you are facing and are able to deal with the relative instability in your tech life.

But I used to live together Android 12 Beta for several months on a secondary device, and although relatively stable, it clearly works in progress. Applications are broken and sometimes not launched at all. Now imagine having to face this while you’re driving, with one hand on the wheel and the other grabbing the sail in an effort to change direction yourself through narrow streets you’ve never seen before.

Writing that paragraph gave me a sincere physical reaction, as far back as I can remember the stress I experienced in a similar situation. There are a few situations where I run a beta version of an app, and it stops working when I try to access my phone. I use Android Auto on my phone as my car’s infotainment system because my dashboard is too complicated to try to change and replace it with the appropriate hardware. I had stopped at the first road exit to address my smartphone as I tried to get somewhere. Indeed, the problem is not with Android Auto but with something in the background. The bottom line is that I rely on that interface when I’m behind the wheel, and anything that interferes with it will instantly distract me.

This scenario contributes to impaired driving, which the CDC define as “whatever catches your eye” off the road. These include texting, eating, talking on the phone, and customizing the navigation system. I’m sure this also includes me shuffling Spotify for the right song to sing when I get home. Android Auto was originally developed to help eliminate some of the causes of impaired driving by allowing the Assistant to do it for you. But when the Assistant can’t facilitate, it’s up to you to take over and direct the system.

The beta is likely stable, since Google has opened it up to everyone, and if there are any issues, the company has a track record of quickly dealing with them. Part of the deal to choose a beta is what you offer feedback, and there are forums available to resolve issues quickly. You can always opt for choose come out again if too shiny for everyday use.

But myour advice is that you stay away Android Auto beta if the only navigation software in your car. Some vehicles have infotainment systems with various launchers and apps available for use, in addition to the Android Auto option. If that’s your problem, at least there’s a suggested solution. But if you’re in a situation where Android Auto is the only one available to map and answer cell phones independently, follow what’s stable. At the end of the day, that’s the safest option when you’re behind the wheel.

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