Redesigned Android Auto hits the road: We go hands-on
Its been just over five years since Android Auto was announced, and in all of that time it's gotten a few new features but the interfaces looked pretty much the same until today.
And I've like to introduce you to the newest generation of Android Auto which just got a redesign that's rolling out to users now.
Now one of the most interesting things about this version of Android Auto is that there technically isn't a home screen anymore that vertical stack of cards that show you things like missed calls or text messages or you're currently playing audio source.
That's all gone.
The notifications now live in a little notification bill icon right here where you can put them off to the side.
One thing that I really like is that you can also mute individual conversations, which is handy if you've got a group text that is kinda getting out of control when you're on your commute.
Now, because there's not a home screen Android Auto just defaults to whatever the last application you were running, whether that's Google Maps or your favorite audio streaming app.
When you get in the car it's Ready to go.
And that just saved you one more click before you hit the road.
Now, most of the changes to the interface take place along this bottom bar, where instead of the five icons that took you to the major areas of the Android auto interface, you now have a App launcher, a sort of multi-tasking area, the aforementioned Notifications icon, and a Google Assistant.
But, the app launcher looks a lot like the Pixel app launcher on Google's phone with the four most commonly accessed apps at the top, and the rest of them being organized in a grid with large icons below.
One thing that is new for this generation are these Google Assistant icons, things like Calendar and News.
When you tap those, they will activate a Google Assistant shortcut.
For example, if I hit calendar, it'll tell me what my current appointments are.
There are three entries for this week.
On Thursday, you have an all day event called pay your rent.
On Saturday, the first one is an all day event called K day.
After that at 7PM, you have City of Trees, a new play.
Now instead of splitting your audio apps into one category, your navigation apps in to another, they're all sort of bundled down here.
So you'll find Waze next to Podcasts, right next to Google Play Music.
Now the other new feature on the bottom bar is this multitasking area.
And it basically changes function depending on what you're doing in Android Auto right now, and what tasks are running in the background.
So while I'm navigating, it shows audio control apps for Spotify, which is running in the background.
And if I wanna quickly toggle to that, I just tap this icon and I switch over.
And now I've got turn by turn navigations in the bottom.
And that means that regardless of what screen I'm on, I'm not going to miss my next turn, and if I'm navigating, I don't have to do a lot of tapping around just to skip to the next song.
If you are on an ongoing call, here is also where you'll find things like the end call and mute button.
Overall, this new version of Android Auto is a lot Snappier.
It's a lot easier to get around and I find that not only do I have an easier way jumping between apps, but with on screen controls and notifications, for those things at all time I don't necessarily have to jump around as much.
Now this new version of android auto, should start rolling out to users now.
You'll see an update in the interface that says, try the new android auto.
Just tap that button and you'll be on your way.
So there's been your look at the newest generation of Android Auto.
I'm looking forward to getting back on the road with it.
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