Android Automotive 12 offers user interface improvements, but no support for 32-bit processors

Android Automotive 12 offers user interface improvements, but no support for 32-bit processors

Tech Highlights:

  • Android Automotive 12 was technically released on October 4th, but as Mishaal Rahman pointed out on Twitter, Google was fairly quiet about the new update — presumably because it won’t actually arrive on any cars anytime soon. The update includes a new Power Policy API (for car makers to customize background tasks), an SMS reference client, prioritized heads-up notifications, a visual indicator for microphone access, a new app launcher, and a two-column design for the Settings app. Android’s Toasts API has also now been enabled, but only system applications can use it.

  • Google’s Android-based operating system for automotive entertainment systems is known as Android Automotive. While Android Auto just duplicates your phone’s apps and content to your car, Automotive is a stand-alone app with its own Play Store and audio playback capabilities. Google has released a new Android 12 Automotive update, which includes a few notable improvements.

Interestingly, Android Automotive 12 is 64-bit only, making it the first official Android release to drop support for 32-bit platforms. Android on smartphones and tablets still works with 32-bit devices, but Arm doesn’t plan on supporting 32-bit operations new mobile CPUs after 2023, and Qualcomm’s latest chipsets can’t run 32-bit code on all of its cores.

The full list of changes in Android 12 Automotive is available on the Android Source website. Google hasn’t said when (or if) the update will be pushed to cars running earlier versions of Android Automotive. The first car with Automotive, the Polestar 2, is still running Android 10.

Google hasn’t updated its Android Studio Emulator device images with an option for Android Automotive 12, but Rahman shared the below screenshots using an unofficial image from Snapp Automotive. Even though Android Automotive was officially introduced in March 2017, it hasn’t reached many cars yet. The 2021 Polestar 2 was the first car with Automotive, and in the past year, Cadillac, General Motors, and Renault have announced or started selling cars running Automotive. Back in September, Renault Group showed off its upcoming Mégane E-TECH Electric car, which has Automotive with Google apps and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Automotive Cockpit Platform. There have also been attempts to make Automotive available for existing cars, like an unofficial port to the Galaxy Tab S5e.

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