Stop saying that Android’s big auto-coolwalk feature is a dud

However, the update came with several other changes as Coolwalk removed the status bar and relied entirely on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Similar to the Windows taskbar, this part of the user interface allows users to launch apps and display additional information such as the current time.

Depending on the head unit, the taskbar can be displayed either at the bottom of the screen or vertically on the side facing the driver.

Many users believe that the lack of taskbar customization makes Coolwalk a failed redesign, especially since using a vertical design could help save space, especially on smaller screens. However, configuring the taskbar makes sense in Coolwalk.

The first thing users need to note is that the size of the taskbar hasn’t changed with the release of Coolwalk. It’s the same size as before the update, so uses a similar screen size on the main unit.

The vertical taskbar seems to offer an improved experience, but it doesn’t.

When the taskbar uses a vertical theme, the quick control options that can be enabled through settings are no longer available. Also known as widgets, these buttons allow users to interact with other apps when Android Auto is running. When a navigation app is in focus, users can control music playback from the taskbar using the play and pause buttons. When Spotify is running in full screen mode, this area of ​​the taskbar is used to show the next turn for navigation.

The number of apps available in the taskbar is also different. When a vertical layout is used, only three icons appear on the taskbar. This is because the taskbar uses a smaller screen real estate on devices in portrait mode, so it doesn’t take up as much space as it does in horizontal mode.

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When the default configuration is enabled, the taskbar shows four icons.

Both Coolwalk and the previous version of Android Auto used the same approach in terms of available icons. The additional icon, only available when the taskbar is at the bottom of the screen, offers one-tap access to the latest app if it differs from the other three.

At the end of the day, having a taskbar at the bottom of the screen is the right approach, and Coolwalk, which doesn’t come with options to move it to the side, doesn’t make it a flop. Compared to CarPlay, where the taskbar is always vertical, Android Auto with a taskbar at the bottom of the screen makes sense. By design, this feature is not only located there, but also where it makes the most sense.