android auto in your head unit, android auto coolwalk

A new look for your head unit with Android Auto

The latest major Android Auto update happened last February, with Android Auto 9.0 rolling out. Most of the changes were minor compared to previous updates, yet the update ushered a significant development for this increasingly-important driving app. In this article, we’ll delve into this new look for your head unit with Android Auto. 

But first…

Head unit with Android Auto
Head unit with Android Auto

What is Android Auto?

Android Auto is a mobile app developed by Google that allows users to connect their Android smartphones to their car’s infotainment system and access various features more safely and conveniently while driving. 

Some of the key features of Android Auto include:

  1. Navigation
    Android Auto provides turn-by-turn navigation with real-time traffic information, voice-guided directions, and lane guidance to help users reach their destinations safely.
  1. Media and entertainment 

It allows users to access their favourite music, podcasts, and other media apps through the car’s display, with controls optimised for driving, such as voice commands and large, easy-to-tap buttons.

  1. Messaging and calling
    The app supports hands-free messaging and calling, allowing users to send and receive messages, make phone calls, and listen to voicemail using voice commands.
  1. Google Assistant integration
    Android Auto integrates with Google Assistant, allowing users to use voice commands to control various features – playing music, sending messages, making calls, and getting directions – without taking their hands off the wheel!
  1. App ecosystem

The app supports various third-party apps for navigation, media, messaging, and more, including popular apps like Google Maps, Spotify, WhatsApp, and Pandora.

What’s new on a head unit with Android Auto?

Android Auto version 9.0 gave us thoughtful and safety-oriented updates that users have been clamouring for years.

Head unit with Android Auto
A Head Unit with Android Auto image via Google

First, Google changed its Maps display to be closer to the driver’s side – minor in scale but significant regarding road safety. With the directions and navigation buttons nearer to the person behind the wheel, it lessens the instances where the driver’s eyes veer away from the road. 

Moreover, the Google Maps interface now optimises the car’s screen size to maximise the display for the driver. 

Next, the update made Google Assistant “smarter” – quick shortcuts are shown on the screen (i.e. music, podcasts, other apps), missed call prompts, and ETA sharing.

Finally, audiophiles can celebrate the improved seekable progress bar their beloved music and podcast apps. 

It does not end here, though.

Google has also ramped up the rollout of CoolWalk. If you recall, CoolWalk is Android Auto’s major dashboard UI redesign planned to go live last year (then, later on, moved to the start of the year). However, the full launch has yet to happen due to unknown reasons.

But the last few months saw more people experience the updated Android Auto screen. Here are the updates reported (and they look promising!):

  1. Split-screen dashboard
    See multiple apps at once on display. Also, the Android Auto UI now adjusts to any head unit size (and is not limited to more giant head unit screens).
  2. Media player with intelligent recommendations
    All the music you want all the time with a media player who knows your music taste. Plus, it now has a sleeker look for that more modern feel.
  3. All notifications in one place
    You’ll never miss that message, call, chat, or new podcast episode. See the notifications from all your Android Auto apps in one location on the display.
  4. Easy toggle
    Switching from one app to another is now more convenient and safer during your drive.
head unit with android auto
New Android Auto interface image via Google

Our Final Word

Exciting times for users of Android Auto. The new updates avoided the clutter and focused on making a better and safer driving experience. And with the Coolwalk interface on its way to a full rollout, we will indeed have a leveled-up user experience with the new look Android Auto head unit!

So stay tuned to our next articles as we give the latest on head units (and how to make them more awesome!)

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