The first major Google Maps alternative with support for Coolwalk is now available, taking full advantage of the navigation map in the split-screen UI.
Coolwalk features a redesigned Android Auto dashboard that allows users to run multiple apps side-by-side on the same screen. Similar to the CarPlay dashboard, Android Auto Coolwalk uses a card-based layout that allows multiple categories of apps to run on the screen.
Navigation software gets the largest map because such apps require additional screen real estate to display route guidance and other information. However, before this type of application can run on Coolwalk, it needs to be updated with support for the dedicated map.
Until recently, Google Maps was the only navigation app that could run on Android Auto Coolwalk.
The latest version of MapFactor Navigator also adds Coolwalk support, providing users with important route information right on the dashboard. The navigation map shows not only the route but also the ETA, the distance to the destination and the next turn.
Support for the Android Auto redesign is part of app version 7.3, and just like Google Maps, users can tap the navigation map to expand the app to full screen. This allows MapFactor Navigator to provide a complete navigation experience on Android Auto.
The latest update also comes with additional features for Android users. MapFactor Navigator now supports a picture-in-picture mode. Thanks to this feature, users can minimize the navigation to a smaller window in the lower right corner while keeping another app in focus. This mode contains only the most important information, such as the map and the next turn. By tapping the thumbnail, users can return to full-screen navigation at any time.
Google Maps and MapFactor Navigator are currently the two navigation apps that support Android Auto Coolwalk.
Waze has already started work on a similar feature, but Coolwalk compatibility is currently in beta. The parent company hasn’t revealed any information on the timing of the public launch, but that should happen in the next few weeks. At this time, Waze can only run in full screen mode when launched on Android Auto Coolwalk.
Coolwalk is still rolling out. It launched in January, but Google uses a phased approach to ensure a high level of reliability. The company is expected to complete the rollout of Coolwalk this year, but no further details have been given as of yet. Coolwalk isn’t tied to any specific Android Auto update, as Google itself decides who gets the redesigned UI and when. The rollout is based on a server-driven model.