Google is working on an update for Android Auto that will completely change how it looks, and the latest build released to beta testers has provided a closer look at what future versions of Android Auto could look like. The update is codenamed 'Coolwalk' and has been circulating since 2021, although at that point, the work was still very much in the early phases.
The most recent beta build, Android Auto 7.3, which was spotted by Italian blog AndroidWorld (opens in new tab), arrives with several big improvements, including a look at the all-new split-screen mode.
So, what does the new Android Auto UI actually look like? Well… it's very similar to the Apple CarPlay dashboard. In other words, Android Auto will display several apps running side by side, with cards for widgets and apps.
So, for example, the screenshots show Google Maps, Spotify, and weather information on the same screen, with the navigation app getting the largest lion's share of the screen.
It appears that the status bar at the top of the screen has been removed and the dynamic bar at the bottom has received a few small refinements to look more modern.
It is claimed that the new UI is available on all display types, not just widescreen resolutions.
The biggest upgrade is, clearly, the ability to run multiple apps side-by-side on the same screen. It will allow easy multitasking and should greatly improve usability – I really can't wait to try it out.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this story, at the moment, unfortunately, all of these updates are part of the beta version of Android Auto – there's no news on when they will make their way to public release. Looking back, the last overhaul of Android Auto was in July 2019, so, I'd suggest we could expect a big update this summer, with more news announced at Google I/O 2022.