Google Announces Major Android Auto Update with New Design

In previous versions of Android Auto, a system bar at the bottom of the screen housed five app icons: Maps, Contacts, Home, Music, and a "car" screen (which didn't have much use). Google has confirmed that Android Q will bring a dark mode to Android phones.

Android Auto, Google's smartphone mirroring system, has been given its first major makeover since it was introduced in 2015.

You'll see three large buttons at the top - Navigate, Make a call, and Play (for music) - as well as large banners in the "Just for you" section that give you information on recently-missed calls, shortcuts to the restaurant you have a reservation for, and more.

With most of the app navigation abilities removed from the system bar, Android Auto is switching to a tried-and-true app grid for app navigation. The feature works with videos, podcasts and audio messages, across any app - even stuff you record yourself. Everything is tied together under a dark theme, in line with Google's new Material guidelines.

Now the navigation bar has static buttons to jump to mapping, phone, home, audio and exit screens.

As expected, Android Q will also be featuring an updated gesture-based navigation experience.

To get Android Q Beta 3 on a Pixel handset, just enroll your device on the Android Beta website. Google Assistant Driving Mode allows you to mount your phone on the dashboard and then load up the Assistant app. Plus, you'll receive reminders when an app has your location in the background, so you can decide whether or not to continue sharing.

Like all of Google's project codenames for Android, this one sounds lofty and it's not at all clear how smoothly it will go. This will apparently enable faster security updates, but we'll see. Through what Google says was a "huge technical challenge", the company has managed to separate these parts of the OS from the rest, and for the first time gain full control over when and how they are going to be updated.

This redesigned Android Auto design won't be immediately available, though. Unsurprisingly, Q will also come with 5G support built-in.


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