Google is bringing a much needed redesign to Android Auto. It'll begin rolling out later this Summer to all vehicles that are compatible with Android Auto.
This Google I/O marks the five year anniversary of Android Auto, and it is also the first major design change for the platform in that amount of time. Sure, we've seen some rather minor changes to the home screen and such. But this year, it's getting a huge design change.
The Android Auto team says that this redesign was done to make the interface easier to use (basically, less distractions), as well as making easier to get to where you need to go, and get more information at a glance.
With this update, as soon as you get in the car, Android Auto will continue playing your music or other audio, from where you left off. It will also show your navigation app of choice (for now, that is still Google Maps or Waze). This will take a few extra taps out of the equation every time you get in the car. Instead of needing to choose the media tab, then find your playlist and start playing, it is now automatic. This is a small change, but a very useful change.
Google has also redesigned the navigation bar. This will allow the user to control their apps with one tap, as well as getting turn-by-turn directions, the ability to skip to the next song and even take an incoming call all on the same screen.
There is a new notification center within Android Auto now, making it easier to manage your communications while you're on the road. It'll show your recent calls, messages and alerts. You can then choose to view, listen or respond to them when the time is right. This still does not mirror the notifications on your phone – basically you will only get calls, messages and such on Android Auto. No Twitter notifications.
Where things really change with Android Auto is in the design. Google is rolling out a fresh color palette for Android Auto, that makes it easier on the eyes. It will also fit in better with your car's interior. The new UI is now dark, all the time. Instead of just at night. This makes it easier to read, and with the new fonts included, it improves visibility. The end goal with this is to make sure that your eyes do not leave the road any more than necessary.
Finally, Android Auto will now support larger screens in your vehicle. So if you have a wider screen in your center console, Android Auto will now maximize that screen real estate so that you can see more information. Instead of simply making everything larger – or zoomed in.
Google is showcasing the new look for Android Auto at Google I/O this week, which you can check out in the Android for Cars Sandbox. It'll also be detailing more of what's new in Android Auto at its session tomorrow, May 7 at 4PM PST.