As dangerous as it may be, there’s no escaping the fact these days that you will need some mobile app or function while driving. Rather than completely shut people out, who will then resort to actually using their phones, platforms like Android Auto offers safe ways to access those functions. There will always be cases, however, when Android Auto just doesn’t cut it. And rather than directly endanger lives, Google might soon offer a “minimize app” feature that will let users return to their usual Android home screen just for a little while.
Android Auto is basically an app that offers a customized interface that will run on compatible head units when a smartphone is connected. It is designed to use voice for input and feedback and minimize the amount of tapping and looking that you do on the screen. The less time you spend on the screen, the more time you keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
That said, not all apps can work in Android Auto and there are times when those apps are the ones you need. The only way to get to the app, after you’ve pulled over or stopped, would be to sever the connection between your phone and the car, only to have to reconnect them again. Not exactly quick, convenient, or safe.
XDA reports that the new Minimize app option might be Google’s compromise. It basically turns Android App into a floating circle icon, allowing users to access the regular Android home screen and apps. Then, after they’re done, they can simply tap the icon and return to the safety of Android Auto.
While the feature definitely offers a compromise, it is one of those things you hope won’t be abused and used only in safe situations. Given how humans are not exactly the best in judging what’s “safe”, here’s to hoping Minimize app won’t undo the very idea behind Android Auto.