Almost a year after it was first leaked, six months after it was officially revealed, and weeks after its intended summer release, Google has finally begun rolling out a major redesign for Android Auto.
Codenamed ‘Coolwalk’, the update includes a complete revamp of how the smartphone-powered car infotainment system looks on dashboard displays. The new interface features an application dock similar to that on Android phones and Chrome laptops, and the whole interface scales to neatly fit on displays of any size and aspect ratio.
Renders of the updated interface show how the new Android Auto can display a map with navigation instructions, an incoming message, and what music is currently playing, all at once. Each of these applications has its own ‘card’, with the number and size of cards depending on the dimensions and shape of the vehicle’s infotainment display.
The interface also has space for a tool bar 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.
How these elements are arranged depends on the size and shape of your car’s dashboard display. Smaller screens will show less information at once, while different aspect ratios will alter the layout of the interface.
Although the months-long delay without updates from Google wasn’t ideal, it looks like the company has done a good job of polishing the new Android Auto interface. 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. For now, it looks like Google is back in the game with its new Android Auto UI, and we’re keen to try it out for ourselves.
On that note, the new Android Auto is currently only available in beta form. This is available for anyone with a compatible phone to download and install, but as ever it’s worth remembering that beta software is unfinished and can contain bugs that affect how well it works.