Several leaks suggest that Google is preparing to release its biggest overhaul to Android Auto and the first major design change since 2019. It looks like Google wants to offer improved multi-tasking, ditch the status bar, and use a split-screen mode similar to the CarPlay dashboard.
Thanks to several leaked photos found over on Reddit, we’re getting a great look at Android Auto’s new interface, codenamed “Coolwalk.” Finally, Google could be ready to offer split-screen mode to all screens, not just larger displays, reducing how often users leave navigation and interact with the screen.
Instead of leaving navigation mode altogether to quickly change songs, reply to a message, or decline a call, the split-screen mode gives drivers a view of it all. Google also ditched the status bar at the top. It previously displayed the clock, Wi-Fi signal, battery levels, and other info, which you can now find at the bottom of the screen.
Additionally, the dedicated circle button to expand the side panel is gone, too. Now, the home button does everything, and a long-press on “home” will bring up widgets and split the screen. That way, users can simultaneously see the weather, music, and navigation.
Being able to pause and play music while adjusting or watching navigation all-in-one will vastly improve the experience. While CarPlay and Android Auto both have pros and cons, Apple’s split-screen mode is rather helpful, and it looks like Google wants to offer something similar.
We got an early glance at this new Android Auto interface back in September, so it’s clear that Google’s been working on it for a while now. AndroidWorld reports new wallpapers, options to adjust the “driving side,” an app called “Cast” that’s in beta and may allow for screen mirroring from a phone, and other modern refinements.
Lastly, it looks like Google is testing a new “Send SMS” button when users receive an incoming call. Similar to the feature on phones, users could tap the Send SMS button and send a quick response when rejecting a call.
Unfortunately, these changes are only available in beta builds of Android Auto, and we’re not yet sure when they’ll get released. There’s a good chance we’ll learn more and see the new and improved Android Auto arrive within the next few months at Google’s annual I/O developer event, but we’ll have to wait and see.
via XDA Developers