We knew back in June that Google’s in-car operating system Android Auto would run with a user-interface designed by Google itself. All developers are able to do is choose a particular template, then send the text and data from the phone app to the interface, so that everything appearing on the car display will have a consistent look & feel. It’s the same approach Google has taken with Android Wear and Android TV.

Arstechnica today pointed us to a developer overview for Android Auto providing a good sense of the visual appearance of the interface. What is shown above is the generic interface, on the left, and an example of how developers are able to customize it on the right … 

When users connect their Android handheld device to a compatible vehicle, Android Auto provides a car-optimized Android experience on the vehicle’s screen. Users interact with compatible apps and services through voice actions and the vehicle’s input controls […]

Google announced Android Auto in late June, saying that it had researched the apps people wanted to use in their cars and developed a focus on navigation, communication and music – and has announced that the first version of the platform focuses on media apps.

Android Auto defines interaction models and car-specific UI patterns for apps. The first version of Android Auto supports media apps, such as music, podcast, live radio, and audio news apps.

Google Auto comes with a night mode that automatically switches to a dark theme to ensure that the display is less distracting when driving in the dark.

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 14.21.54

The good news for developers is that the process for making an app available on Android Auto is a straightforward one.

To create a media app for Android Auto, you include an Android service in your app that implements the media service interfaces provided by the Android Auto SDK. These interfaces define functionality for browsing and finding content, playing media, customizing the UI, and performing app-specific actions.

This should ensure that there are a decent number of apps available when the platform launches later this year. It will be competing with Apple’s CarPlay platform.

Google has been working on a unified Android design across devices in the form of the Material Design guidelines behind Android L.

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