Android Auto’s redesign has come a long way. After some unofficial announcements earlier in the year, Google has finally taken the stage to unveil a revamped dashboard UI for cars, promising drivers will be able to use it this summer. Six months later, the Auto’s new look – codenamed Coolwalk – was here just reached public beta. Given some of the improvements Google has introduced, it’s hard to say the wait isn’t worth it. After all, like Android Auto is becoming the primary way people interact with their cars while driving, this update has a lot of scrolling.
Over the past few years, Google’s relationship with cars has been in a constant state of flux. Back in 2019, the company announced Assistant Driving Mode, a new service designed to replace Automatic phone screen mode. It took over two years for the app to launch with a dedicated home screen, but even then it wasn’t too long for this world. Google effectively killed it in October, keeping the wrapper based on Google Maps while abandoning everything else. Meanwhile, Android Auto for phone screens is dead twice – for the first Phones running Android 12after for everyone.
Aside from some different alternatives for phone screens, it’s separated from Android Auto, the original car-based version, as the primary way for drivers to securely interact with their phones while on the road. Since then Last updated in 2019Google has continued to improve its look, and all of this has led to this year’s UI redesign.
Android Auto is also technologically advanced. Wireless capabilities are now available in more cars than ever, allowing users to avoid the struggle for a USB-C cable every time they get into the driver’s seat. Aftermarket dongles enabled you to add wireless support to your existing vehicle, just as in-dash devices continue to provide older vehicles with a gateway to Auto. Although Android Automotive is not the same thingalso powers more vehicles from companies like GM and Volvo, bringing the Android experience to drivers no matter what phone they’re using.
When we it last conducted this survey three years ago, the state of our interaction with our cars was very different than it is today. The phone app disappeared, Auto became almost standard on all new cars and more readily available on used cars, and its design continued to evolve. In 2019, nearly half of respondents used Android Auto in their cars; I wouldn’t be surprised if that number is higher this time around.
So you’re an Android Auto user? Did your car come with it or are you relying on an aftermarket unit? Or maybe your car uses Android Automotive — I’ve added options for users who keep plugging their phones in and don’t. Personally, I’ve been using Auto installed in my car since 2019 and couldn’t imagine driving without it. I’m sure many of our readers feel the same way, so let us know in the poll below.