Google on Thursday announced a new tool for developers who want to build additional support into their apps for Android Auto. It’s called the “Android Auto Desktop Head Unit,” and it essentially emulates an in-car head unit so that developers can see exactly how their app will act.
“Once you’ve installed the DHU, you can test your Android Auto apps by connecting your phone and workstation via USB,” Google explained. “Your phone will behave as if it’s connected to a car. Your app is displayed on the workstation, the same as it’s displayed on a car.” Google said it hopes this alleviates developers from feeling the need to literally sit in a car to see how their apps will look on a head unit.
The Desktop Head Unit can be found inside the SDK Manager under “Extras” and will be installed inside the extras/google/auto directory, Google explained. Once installed, it can be executed from a phone inside the Android Auto companion app, which will have a “Start head unit server” option.
The Android Auto Desktop Head Unit requires a device running Lollipop or newer.