Google typically rolls out changes to its design language every couple years, but many of the company's apps still take months, if not years to catch up. The wireframe style icons that started popping up in 2018 have become fairly ubiquitous, but there are still a few notable holdouts. Android Auto would have been counted among them, but it looks like a new set of icons has been silently swapped in for the Google Maps navigation interface.
Android Auto is a great way to play media, take phone calls, and get directions more safely than just using your phone while moving. Unfortunately, many of us are still driving vehicles that don't offer a built-in AA option. However, there are still ways to get Android Auto in your car, and installing a new head unit. Sony just announced plans to release a new model with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Weblink capabilities, and a 6.95" capacitive screen.
Android Auto is in just about every new car and truck on the market today, but it has been absent from motorcycles — until now. Harley-Davidson announced that it is updating the 'Boom! Box GTS' infotainment system present on some of its motorcycles to support Android Auto.
Android Auto saw some big changes last summer, including removal of the Google Feed-inspired home screen and the addition of semi-persistent audio controls in the navigation bar. While most of the changes were welcomed, a few things were lost in the transition. Complaints have been stacking up over the sacrifice of calendar integration, or more specifically, that there are no appointment reminders or a convenient way to kickstart navigation to the places you need to go.
Some cars and head units are capable of displaying Android Auto from your phone wirelessly, but there are additional restrictions to the functionality — other than owning a compatible handset, you also need to live in one of the regions where the wireless connection is available. Luckily, the list of supported countries is expanding, and now you can use wireless Android Auto in almost all locations where the wired version is available, with only two exceptions: Japan and Russia.
Google promised over a year ago that the wireless version of Android Auto would work out-of-the-box on any Android 9.0+ phone, but that hasn't quite panned out. The only devices that have been able to use it are Google's own Pixel devices (plus the Nexus 5X and 6P), but that finally appears to be changing.
Back in November, Android Auto gained a cool little readout of the local temperature. It was visible on all screens and could be turned on or off in the settings screen on your phone. While it's hard to knock an addition like this, many people took issue with the fact that the setting to toggle this display was titled "Weather" when it was technically just the temperature. Rather than accept defeat and change the name of the setting, the Auto team chose instead to actually give us the weather.
Android Auto is designed to limit distractions, so it won't ping you with every notification on your phone. It can still be enough to get annoying, though. Google is finally addressing that with the option to silence notifications in Android Auto.