Google rolls out Android Auto redesign to more users… but there’s still a catch

Long-awaited ‘Coolwalk’ update is now available to on my cars, but only in beta form

Android Auto Coolwalk update
(Image credit: Google)

Google is making its long-overdue Android Auto update, codenamed Coolkwalk, available to more users. But, months after it was due, the interface overhaul remains in beta.

The company originally said how the update, which brings a whole new user interface to Android Auto, would arrive in the summer of 2022. But as the winter arrives, the update is yet to properly roll out to Android users.

Instead, it is only available to those subscribed to the Android beta programme, where future software and updates are made available before they are entirely finished.

The new version of Android Auto arrived for some beta users in November, and now the system has reportedly landed on more beta-enrolled handsets. More specifically, phones attached to cars that have infotainment systems with rotary controls and laptop-style touchpads are beginning to see the Coolwalk beta.

Users posted on Reddit to say how the update appeared at random earlier this week. In some cases the new interface arrived just a few minutes after the older system had been running. Cars with infotainment systems controlled with a rotating knob, like those used by Mazda, are now seeing the Coolwalk update, along with some unbranded, aftermarket Android head units, and cars with trackpads too.

Announced by Google back in May, the update sees Android Auto treated to an all-new, adaptive interface that changes size and layout depending on the dimensions and aspect ratio of the car’s dashboard display. The biggest change is how the home screen now shows several apps at once, with the maps and navigation instructions sharing screen space with, for example, the music player and incoming messages or phone calls.

The new interface also has space for a toolbar with the time, phone signal strength and an icon for the number of unread notifications, plus the aforementioned application dock and buttons for quickly accessing the app library and Google Assistant for voice control.

It’s a similar look to that of Apple’s CarPlay system, which is also undergoing a major update of its own, due towards the end of 2023.

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.