Google updates Android Auto with new look, interface

Google has announced that it will introduce an overhauled version of Android Auto in a few months time, which it claims will offer users a more intuitive interface that makes it easier to access information and perform common tasks.

The biggest change by far is a new navigation bar at the bottom of the display, which replaces the static white buttons of the current interface. The navigation bar allows certain apps to utilise the section for its functions so users won’t have to frequently switch between apps like before.

As an example, let’s say you have Spotify playing and Google Maps with the full map view open. Previously, if you wanted to play the next song, you’d need to tap the headphone icon at the bottom to access Spotify before tapping the “forward” button – assuming you only interface with the screen.

With the new interface, the navigation bar will present media controls for Spotify within the full map view, so there’s no need to switch apps. The navigation bar also sees the home button being positioned to the left instead of in the middle, and it now brings up a list of available apps.

There’s also a notification button that brings you to a notification centre that shows recent calls, messages and alerts. The button is located next to the Google Assistant button, which is now in the bottom right rather than the top right from before.

Other changes include a new dark theme with colourful accents and easier to read fonts, as well as better support for infotainment system using widescreen displays, allowing for more information to be displayed.

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Gerard Lye

Originating from the corporate world with a background in finance and economics, Gerard’s strong love for cars led him to take the plunge into the automotive media industry. It was only then did he realise that there are more things to a car than just horsepower count.



  • Not Toyota Fan on May 07, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    Dear Proton, Time to ditch Baidu maps & EasyCon app. Google maps/Waze + Android Auto is the way to move forward.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
    • KDK Fan on May 07, 2019 at 6:10 pm

      Cannot be too dependent on GPS based satellite navigation, a good system should also have redundancy backup using other ie. Beidou SatNav or GLONASS SatNav.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
      • Not Toyota Fan on May 07, 2019 at 8:13 pm

        SatNav dependent on device. Most phones/Android based device can detect A-GPS, GLONASS & BDS.

        Software choose which SatNav it prefer, doesn’t surprise me if Google maps choose A-GPS as priority & Baidu maps choose BDS as priority. But I believe the software is smart enough to also have a secondary backup.

        Here’s the twister, the X70 Baidu map is based on Nokia HERE maps. (As Baidu doesn’t have any mapping outside China, it needs to collaborate with a global non Chinese mapping company.) So, HERE maps would obviously choose A-GPS as priority.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
    • Unknown on May 07, 2019 at 7:34 pm

      Baidu maps don’t track your car movements and upload it to a big data server so that advertisers can spam your Android enabled car with location specific adverts.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
      • Not Toyota Fan on May 07, 2019 at 10:51 pm

        True but we’re being spied on 24/7 via our digital footprint. If Google, Apple, Micro$oft, Facebook etc are working hand in glove with the NSA, what makes you think the Chinese chips, phones, apps manufacturers aren’t also doing the same with State Security?

        Sorry but there’s no running away from it. We are the target.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
  • Availability on May 07, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    Is Android Auto even officially available in Malaysia yet?
    I download using VPN and set the location to UK.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
    • Cacing tayar on May 07, 2019 at 6:22 pm

      I’ve just bought sony xav ax100 and fit on my waja as daily basis/work usage. download the AA standalone for my phone and walla. feels good dy.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
    • Why would you need to set to UK? I downloaded the AA .apk file years ago and it just played on my car’s screen with no problem.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
    • MeToo on May 07, 2019 at 6:55 pm

      Not officially. Everyone downloads the APK themselves.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
    • Unknown on May 07, 2019 at 7:35 pm

      Set location to London Biscuit factory but it brought me to London UK. How do I get the car back now?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
    • Monana on Aug 12, 2019 at 9:00 pm

      Really? I just open up Google PlayStore, search for Android Auto and download. I’m at Penang, no VPN used. Just used Unifi. But I did change my DNS at the router to Google’s DNS and I dont think that helped me. Or, Android Auto has been secretly launched in Malaysia?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Ongtk on May 07, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    Many Malaysian car distributors are offering Android Auto and Apple Car Play nowadays. But strangely, Android Auto is not officially available in this region.

    I retrofitted Apple Car Play on my 2018 CX-5. Mazda claimed it works for Apple Car Play only but in actual fact it is compatible with Android Auto too. I have been using Android Auto without any issues since the installation and I can navigate the app with the MZD controls too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
    • alihms on May 08, 2019 at 12:50 pm

      It could be because Android Auto is still unable to implement Malay language version for the voice commands. It can speak Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese etc but strangely not Malay.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • seancorr (Member) on May 07, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    So does our HU need to have firmware upgrades or only our phones need the new software? FYI Android Auto isn’t available in Malaysia so you will have to download the APK file in order to use it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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