Beta-Testing Car Software Sounds Like a Bad Idea

Home Technology Beta-Testing Car Software Sounds Like a Bad Idea
Beta-Testing Car Software Sounds Like a Bad Idea
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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 the new features before everyone else. Once you opt into the beta, you can help Google test the features with your specific device and vehicle and share feedback to help the company improve the product.


Part of the charm of being an Android user is that you have access to software and apps before everyone else. It’s a definite perk if you know what you’re dealing with and can handle the relative instability in your tech life.

But I’ve been living with the Android 12 Beta for a few months on a secondary device, and though it’s relatively stable, it’s very obviously a work in progress. Apps crash and sometimes don’t launch at all. Now imagine having to deal with this while you’re driving, with one hand on the wheel and the other reaching for the screen in an attempt to re-route yourself through narrow streets you’ve never seen before.

Writing that paragraph gave me a sincere physical reaction, as I recall the stress I’ve experienced in similar situations. There have been instances where I was running a beta version of an app, and it stopped working while I was trying to access my phone. I use Android Auto on my phone as my car’s infotainment system since my dashboard is too complicated to try to swap out and replace it with the appropriate hardware. I’ve pulled over at the first freeway exit to deal with my smartphone acting up while I was trying to get someplace. Granted, the issue wasn’t with Android Auto but with something in the background. The point is that I’m reliant on that interface when I’m behind the wheel, and anything that interferes with that will immediately throw off my focus.

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