Android Auto is one of the best car stereo systems. First announced in 2015, the Apple CarPlay competitor has seen a number of redesigns over the past couple of years. Google has been known to be working on a new Android Auto UI known as "Coolwalk" and now, the first images of the 2022 Android Auto have leaked.
The images come courtesy of folks over at AndroidWorld and the Reddit user u/RegionRat91. Taking a first look at the images, it looks like Google's new Coolwalk design is heavily inspired by Apple CarPlay. The new Android Auto version may offer the ability to have a couple of widgets open alongside the current app (Google Maps, Music widget, and Weather widget are shown below).
Much like modern-day Android tablets, notification icons, signal strength, battery, and Google Assistant buttons are now available towards the bottom right corner. Incoming notifications, such as calls, now have bigger buttons so you can easily reject/answer calls or respond to texts.
The Redditor mentioned in the post that they were able to enable the new "Coolwalk" interface by editing the phenotype.db file on their rooted Android phone and enabling the respective "Coolwalk" and "cakewalk" flags. Though we would not recommend you to enable it on your Android phone since there are many bugs in the current testing version.
Apart from the new UI, the report also says that Google is working on some sort of 'Cast' feature for Android Auto. There's a "MirroringApp" in the new Coolwalk Android Auto version that, well, mirrors your phone's screen to the Android Auto display. It covers the whole display, so we don't really recommend you to stream videos while driving. Google might also remove the feature in the final release.
The report also points out that the screen mirroring feature doesn't work when a user is trying to cast DRM-protected content, such as TV shows and movies from Netflix and Disney+.
There's no word on when the new Android Auto UI will be available. Google might announce the new Android Auto version at its annual I/O developer conference in May this year, but it's only speculation for now. We'll keep you updated as and when we hear more about Android Auto Coolwalk UI rolling out to car systems.