Three New Big Android Auto Features Currently in the Works
But in the meantime, Google is also working on new features for Android Auto, all with a simple goal in mind: improve the functionality of the app even further and provide users with more options to customize how they want to use it in their cars.
The most recent beta build, for example, comes with several important hints in this regard, letting us take an early peek at what Google is preparing on the Android Auto front, though right now, there’s no guarantee that any of the features that were discovered recently would eventually make their way to production builds.
The first, and probably the most important, is the introduction of a new UI refresh codenamed Coolkwalk. The interface update pretty much comes down to a new button placed in the navigation bar that allows users to launch some sort of notification center with the press of a button.
Just think of the Action Center on Windows 10. When you click this button, you can see the latest notifications along with a series of quick actions.
On Android Auto, the new button will also let you view the latest notification, while also getting access to music playback controls. The interface of this new pane is currently rather rough, but I expect Google to add some sort of transparency and make it less intrusive, especially as it’s supposed to eat up some valuable space on the screen. And this is a big no-no, especially when running navigation apps.
Then, Google is working on something big in terms of wallpapers. As most Android Auto users already know, the app comes with support for wallpapers, so instead of the dull and classic background, you can choose a more colorful photo from a collection included by Google itself in the app.
This collection of wallpapers is bundled with Android Auto by default, and right now, it can’t be modified in any way.
Google is planning to add more wallpapers, but at the same time, it’s also developing a new feature that could add extra functionality overall. So what the company seems to be preparing is support for retrieving backgrounds from its own servers.
This could obviously allow the company to provide users with more wallpapers without the need for Android Auto app updates, but at the same time, it could also power an auto-changing wallpaper feature that could work based on various triggers, such as the time of day.
And last but not least, Google seems to be working on providing users with additional controls on how the app starts in their cars. In most new models, Android Auto launches automatically when the phone is connected to the head unit, but Google wants to offer more options at the app level.
So users will be allowed to choose if they want Android Auto to trigger the automatic launch of the app when the connection to the head unit is detected or to use the previous state as the default setting. In other words, if you turned off the engine and Android Auto wasn’t running, then it wouldn’t start the next time you get behind the wheel either.
These options would be included in the new settings screen on Android Auto, therefore letting you configure everything from the head unit and not from the mobile device.