The best Android phones will soon lose the Android Auto for phones screens app, as Google looks to bundle the platform into Google Maps. Thankfully, Google continues to refine and improve the in-car app before it fully disappears, with the latest feature showing off how cars with smaller displays could be better served by the app.
The slick new redesign sees Android Auto incorporating elements of Material You (Android 12's new design language), and using them to make notifications more accessible, amongst several other multitasking improvements. Here's how.
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AndroidWorld (opens in new tab) first spotted the feature, codenamed ‘Coolwalk,’ which brings the recently launched split-screen functionality for larger in-car screens to smaller displays.
The new ‘Coolwalk’ UI enables tabs to be overlaid on the map, granting users the ability to access their music apps and alerts, while keeping the map open and in view. Alongside this, there’s a nifty new button that’s now placed where the circular launch button once lived. You can use this to activate your tab overlay, making it very easy to manage your notifications and apps.
Multitasking made easier
As is normal for Android Auto and its recent run of problems, AndroidWorld notes that the new design is far from complete. There are visible bugs present in the app, including the inability to play/pause music through the music card, amongst other minor inconveniences like being unable to dismiss some notifications. This could be a problem if it causes a backlog of notifications that need to be cleared, especially when behind the wheel.
The folks over at Android Auto still have some polishing to do, undoubtedly. But once the issues have been fixed, models from our best Android Auto head unit list without a wide enough screen will soon be able to multitask in split-screen mode. Hopefully, Google gets this sorted sooner rather than later. In the meantime, you can check out the best dash cam for your car, where we've tested dozens of devices to bring you the best of the current crop available on the market.