Earlier this year, fans of Android Auto were given something big to look forward to, as after years of relative stagnation, Google announced that a major overhaul was coming down the pike for its car-connected system. While previously teased with no more specificity than arriving "later this summer," it looks like that update ball has finally started rolling, and the first reports are coming in of the new Auto interface landing.
There's a lot changing with this release, from an overhauled navigation bar, to faster startup, to an even more car-friendly UI requiring fewer inputs to get common tasks done. Visual improvements include a dark theme and enhanced support for varying screen geometries, and users will discover new ways to keep in touch while on the go in Auto's notification center.
Based on the reports we've seen, updating to the new Android Auto appears to be a server-side change, but you can ready yourself by having the latest Android Auto app installed so that whenever the switch does get flipped for you, you'll be all set to take advantage.
It may still be some time before all Android Auto users get access to this season's big refresh, but we're happy to see Google start distribution so early in summer, all the same.
Speaking to a Google spokesperson, Android Police has learned that no official rollout of the new Android Auto interface is currently underway, but that the release is still on track for this summer. The spokesperson specifically said "[T]he Android Auto update has not yet been rolled out to users."
While it's possible that the person who posted this image may have accidentally received the new Auto interface (this definitely happens with Google products) or somehow found a way to activate it by modifying the application file, there's really no way to know based on the limited information we're working with. No one else seems to have received the update, though, suggesting either could be an explanation (though the poster in the reddit thread never alludes to doing any tinkering).
There is also speculation in the reddit thread that the image itself could be a fabrication, but having looked at it closely ourselves, we're not willing to come down one way or another on that debate. For now, though, the most important takeaway is that a general rollout of the new Auto UI isn't happening just yet.