Google described the new version of its smartphone-powered infotainment system as something that'll be more seamless and actionable, meaning it should require less steps for you to get stuff done. Oh, and it supports a new default dark mode. In a blog post, Android Auto product manager Rod Lopez said this update is supposed to “help you get on the road faster" and "show more useful information at a glance".
That said, the biggest change involves the new, persistent navigation bar at the bottom of the screen. It's no longer static, with white buttons on a black background; instead, it's dynamic and lets some apps appear on the navigation bar for improved control. For instance, if you’re using Google Maps, you won’t need the full app open on the screen, as the new navigation bar will show you turn-by-turn directions.
Also, if there’s music playing in the background of Android Auto, the navigation bar will show you play controls for apps like Spotify. The new navigation also offers one-tap access to Google Assistant, and it tucks the home button to the left, rather than the middle. Other changes to the Android Auto interface and user experience include notifications with more actions in the notification center and a cleaner app launcher design.
Again, the goal of this refresh is to simplify common tasks while driving, among other things. We suspect we'll hear more about it at Google I/O. For a round-up of everything we expect to see at the annual conference, see our guide here.