Android Auto is far from a stagnant platform, but it hasn’t seen any major UI changes since its overhaul in 2019. For the past few months, a new Android Auto UI known as “Coolwalk” has been in development with a dashboard style, and Google is still working on the project.

First spotted in September 2021, “Coolwalk” offers up a dashboard-style design not all that different from Apple’s CarPlay, with Android Auto’s take offering a couple of widgets alongside your current app. The feature has yet to actually roll out to anyone, but is being evolved within the app as teardowns show.

The folks over at AndroidWorld enabled the latest version of “Coolwalk,” showing some of Google’s progress on the feature. This includes removing a dedicated button that pulls up the widgets on the side, instead putting that functionality under a long-press of the “Apps” button. A notification icon lives next to that button, and this new UI also eliminates the status bar at the top of the screen. Instead, information regarding signal strength, battery, and the time are pushed to the bottom corner of the interface.

It’s noted that, in its current state, “Coolwalk” is still far from complete, with many bugs during testing.

Beyond Android Auto’s new dashboard UI, a deep dive on the app’s latest versions shows two other new features Google is working on. That includes a new “Cast” app that carries a codename of “MirroringApp.” u/RegionRat91 on Reddit was also able to enable these features using a rooted device, and was able to get this “Cast” app running. Apparently, it simply mirrors the display of your connected smartphone.

Google is also adding a new option for incoming calls which adds a third button to reject a call while sending a message over SMS to the caller, a pretty common feature on most smartphone dialer apps.

None of these features are live in Android Auto 7.3, but may arrive in future updates. u/RegionRat91 on Reddit was also able to enable these features using a rooted device, offering a look at the features on an actual car’s display.

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Ben Schoon

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