As you hit the road this summer, Android Auto is sporting a new look with features that make driving more simple, personal and helpful. So grab your sunglasses and fill up your tank—here’s what you can expect.
Come on, get app-y
With the new app launcher, you can find all your favorite apps with fewer taps. The bottom left button will open the app launcher, where you’ll find the familiar app icons laid out with your most commonly used apps automatically featured in the top row. Just a couple of taps and you can dive into your favorite podcast, rock out to a new song or send a message to Mom.
Tap and talk for more
You’ll notice several of the icons have the Google Assistant badge. By tapping the icon, your Assistant will tell you about your calendar, give you the weather report, read you the news or set a reminder for you.
Pick up where you left off
Whether you’re jamming to the greatest hits or deep into an interesting podcast, Android Auto will automatically start playing where you left off. Make sure you check out the many auto-enabled media apps available in Google Play.
This is the fastest route, despite the usual traffic
Never get lost again with your favorite navigation app easily accessible on your display right when you connect Android Auto. Tap on a suggested location or use the Assistant to start navigating. And if you already have a route queued up on your phone, Android Auto will automatically populate the directions and begin routing you to your destination on your display.
Don’t miss a beat… or a turn
The new navigation bar sits at the bottom of your display, and allows you to manage multiple apps, more easily. So if you’re listening to music, you won’t miss your next turn; or if you’re following directions, you can still easily pause or skip a song. You can also jump straight to your app running in the background with one tap.
Missed calls and unread messages
On the bottom right corner, a new notification button houses all of your recent calls, messages and alerts. You can also keep in touch with friends and family, while keeping your eyes on the road. Just long press the mic button on the steering wheel, tap on the mic button on your display or say “Hey Google” to have the Google Assistant help make calls, send messages and read your notifications.
That new car smell
Android Auto is flexible and can morph itself to fit widescreen displays in cars that support it—giving you extra space for step-by-step navigation, media playback and ongoing call controls (dependent on vehicle support). Plus, the new Android Auto improves visibility with easier to read fonts as well as a new dark theme and colorful accents that match your car’s interior.
If your car has Android Auto support, you’ll start to see the new design over the next few weeks. These updates will not be reflected in Android Auto for your phone screen. We will be evolving the phone screen experience from Android Auto to the Assistant’s new driving mode in the future.
Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He has a interest in cyber security, and has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.