It gains an improved dock with shortcuts for your most recent apps
You don’t have to look at a calendar to know we’re well into fall — my growing collection of sweaters proves that, too. Despite the turning leaves and early sunsets, Google has yet to offer drivers its revamped Android Auto experience. Promises of a release slated for the summer driving season have come and gone, and apparently we’re no closer to Auto’s new dash view. It’s been so long, in fact, that Google has started implementing new design changes, even without releasing this new look.
Mishaal Rahman of Esper.io managed to enable this look in Android Auto using the latest beta, giving us our first look at Google’s changes. Judging by this image, it looks like a big step in the right direction. The shared renders at I/O showed no app shortcuts, while the recent dual-pane leak only showed us one icon: the dialer. With this new implementation, you should be able to quickly switch between recent apps just by tapping on one of the options.
According to 9to5Google, Android Auto will support four slots in its dock, including spaces dedicated to communication, media and navigation, shortcuts. It is likely to show the last app you used; for example, Spotify or Pocket Casts for media. The Assistant icon also remains, perfect for drivers who don’t have built-in buttons built into their steering wheel.
Of course, anyone who’s been in a car driven by an iOS user will likely notice the similarities here. CarPlay uses a left-side menu that provides quick access to recent maps, media, and communication services. Just like with Auto’s upcoming changes, Apple’s shortcuts switch to your most recent service. While Google’s implementation may appear at the bottom of the screen depending on the shape and size of your car’s screen – marking a small difference between Auto and CarPlay – Rahman’s dock being docked to the side left of the screen makes the inspiration here too obvious.
We still don’t know when Google plans to finally launch its Android Auto revamp, but clearly development is still ongoing. With the summer driving season officially in the rearview mirror, perhaps we should start hoping for an early Christmas present instead.