Google has unveiled a complete overhaul of its Android Auto in-car infotainment system, showing off a new ‘dark mode’ default colour scheme as well as a redesigned app launcher.
Coming to cars this winter, the refresh aims to make navigation between applications and menus a smoother experience by including a new ‘navigation bar’ at the bottom of the screen. The bar at the bottom will display different information to the main screen you’re currently on, which should mean switching from app to app will become more intuitive and less convoluted.
For example, if you’re using a sat-nav app but you want to change songs, you’ll be able to skip tracks using the bottom navigation bar without leaving the map screen. Conversely, if you’re showing music media information on the main screen you can have turn-by-turn navigation instructions show up on the bottom bar so you don’t have to constantly flick between screens.
“[The point is to] help you get on the road faster, show more useful information at a glance and simplify common tasks while driving,” said Android Auto product engineer Rod Lopez.
In all, it’s meant to make navigating different apps and switching between them a lot easier, which means more time spent with eyes on the road.
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In addition to the changes with the launcher bar at the bottom, the redesign also includes a one-tap access to Google Assistant for voice activated commands and a tidier app menu that mimics what you see on an actual Android phone.
Less significant are the changes to the notification centre which will allow you to see recent calls, message playback and view alerts.
Google’s on an in-car technology roll at the moment after announcing it’ll open up its Android Auto systems to app developers as well as supplying manufacturers like Volvo, Fiat Chrysler and Audi with a native Google operating system (which will be wholly different to Android Auto) in their cars.
We can’t wait to give the well-needed redesign a test run within the next couple months to see if Google’s claim of increased user-friendliness checks out.