Android Auto ‘Coolwalk’ update has a smart new Spotify feature

Google is updating the user interface overhaul, but it still isn’t widely available

Android Auto 8.0
(Image credit: Google)

If you’ve been waiting patiently for Google to release its much-anticipated ‘Coolwalk’ update to Android Auto, then we don’t blame you if that patience is starting to wear thin.

Google announced the major visual overhaul to its car infotainment system back in May and said the upgrade would be rolled out to Android users by the end of the summer. With autumn almost here, it’s increasingly looking like Google will miss this deadline.

To further complicate things, the update, which uses the internal codename of Coolkwalk, is available to Android users who root their device, but is yet to roll out to the general public. 

Those who have rooted their Android phones have discovered that Google is slowly adding small updates to the new Android Auto system, in what appear to be a range of small tweaks ahead of making the software more widely available.

The latest of these small tweaks is to how music is displayed on the new, multi-window home screen. Where before the currently playing music track would be shown, with its name, artist and album art, in a grey box, the entire box now uses album art as its background. It’s a more colourful and attractive look that was first spotted by Reddit users streaming music from Spotify.

And because Google tends to keep things uniform across Android Auto apps, album art should display in the same way regardless of which music-streaming app is being used.

It looks great, but this will be little consolation to the millions of Android users still waiting for Coolkwalk to arrive on their devices. Google hasn’t offered an update since saying the update would arrive by the end of the summer, and although the software looks closer to completion than ever, autumn is now more likely.

In fact, we suspect the infotainment revamp will land in the wake of Google’s next product launch event, which takes place on 6 October and is where the Pixel Watch will arrive, along with the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro smartphones, and new smart home products from Nest.

Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.