Back in May, we learned that while Android Auto for screens in the car is here to stay — and even getting a slick redesign — the experience of using Android Auto on your phone screen was being killed in favor of the Google Assistant’s Driving Mode. We’re now seeing our first evidence of this on the Android Auto side in its latest update, version 4.6, which includes multiple suggestions and warnings to use Google Assistant Driving Mode instead.
About APK Insight: In this ‘APK Insight’ post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.
We’ve been following the development of the Assistant Driving Mode in the Google app since May, and just this week we discovered that it will feature a potentially slick-looking dark mode. Assistant Driving Mode must finally be getting closer to launch, as new strings have arrived in Android Auto that strongly suggest you try Driving Mode.
<string name=”vanagon_deprecation_primary_text”>Meet your new driving Assistant</string>
<string name=”vanagon_deprecation_secondary_text_phase_one”>On phones, Android Auto is upgrading to the Google Assistant’s driving mode. Try it now.</string>
You may notice that the string above is labeled “phase_one.” Another warning string is included, labeled “phase_two,” which appears will include a date for when Android Auto’s phone-based UI will cease to work. Our own Dylan Roussel dug into the relevant code and found that Google will likely provide this date from their servers.
<string name=”vanagon_deprecation_secondary_text_phase_two”>Driving mode on the Google Assistant will replace Android Auto for phones after %s. Try driving mode now.</string>
Once this final deprecation date for Android Auto on phones has passed, you’ll be treated with an announcement popup informing you to switch to driving mode. This popup will have two options, one to open the Assistant Driving Mode, and one to dismiss and likely close Android Auto. This seems to line up with a recent “glitch” that had the Android Auto app icon disappear for many.
<string name=”assistant_driving_mode_accept”>Try Driving Mode</string>
<string name=”assistant_driving_mode_announcement”>”Android Auto is now only available for car screens. On your phone, try the Google Assistant’s driving mode instead.”</string>
<string name=”assistant_driving_mode_decline”>Got It</string>
Android Auto 4.6 is rolling out now via the Play Store.