I’ve been using Android Auto for a few years now. Typically speaking, while functional, it is a pretty bland and dated experience compared to the newer systems in newer cars. First unveiled at Google I/O 2022 back in May, Google’s Coolwalk update for Android Auto aimed to change that. Initially slated to roll out earlier this year, summer came and went with nary a peep about the update.
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That day has come, however, and the Android Auto Coolwalk update is rolling out to beta users, myself included. The update brings a brand new layout which is more functional, albeit limited in customizability that I could see after an initial look at it. The images here were taken with it displayed on an 8.4-inch touchscreen in a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The current iteration of Android Auto consists of a single screen based on what you’re using, whether it’s Maps, Spotify, Phone, or other. With the update, the new homescreen has three tiles: Maps on the left two-thirds of the screen, with direction choices and your music player splitting the right one-third. Underneath this is a bar with either shortcuts or app controls depending on how you have it set up. The time and connection info has also moved to the bottom right of the main bar.
When driving, if you have a destination set, the direction choices disappear and, in my case, the Spotify widget expanded upwards to take up more of the screen. You can also tap on the map or music widget to have them take over the screen. As mentioned above, when they are full screen, you’ll either have shortcuts to other apps below it or app controls for another app. For example, if Maps takes up the full screen, you’ll have your music controls underneath. If your music app is full screen, one line of directions will show up on the bottom bar.
As mentioned above, the only real new customization I could find is the option to have app shortcuts or app controls on the bottom navigation bar. I didn’t see a way to specify widget locations (I wouldn’t mind having the music widget on the left side, for example) or even an option to move the bottom navigation bar to the top. Regardless, I definitely like the new look and feel of it and having more information available by default at a glance on my car’s screen is great.
If you’re not seeing the update yet, head over to the Google Play store, search for the Android Auto app, scroll down on its information page and enroll in the beta (assuming it’s not full). Once you’ve done that, you’ll have to wait a bit but should get an update to your app after which you should see the changes in your car.
Do you have the new Android Auto Coolwalk update yet? What do you think about it? Let us know on social media by using the buttons below.