Android Auto is a popular mobile app developed by Google to make your car smarter. It turns the car dashboard into an intelligent driving companion. Android Auto mirrors some smartphone functionality onto your car’s dashboard. It takes care of information and entertainment.
Other than mirroring some apps, Android Auto also supports GPS Mapping and navigation, music playback, etc. Android Auto enables picking up calls hands-free, viewing and replying to SMS texts, searching the web without using your hands, etc.
Update February 1: Android Auto 8.8 stable version is now available to everyone. The update may take a few hours to appear on your device. It carries the build number 8.8.630404 and a size of 36.93MB. The good news is that Coolwalk is now rolling out for more users.
Google Assistant is a significant part of Android Auto. While it supports a touch interface, drivers generally resort to voice commands since touchscreen input is distracting while driving. Google Assistant integration makes things much more manageable.
The sole purpose of Android Auto is to communicate, stay connected, navigate with ease, and also keep the driver and the others entertained. Android Auto is not the same as Driving Mode, which is now built into the Google Assistant app for your phone to reduce distractions when driving.
Android Auto got a UI/ UX design change in 2019. The 2019 update added an app drawer to Android Auto. Google’s advertisements of Coolwalk go back to 2021. It’s yet another major UI/UX redesign for the app.
There are new multitasking features, and the UI is minimal now. The stability is supposedly better, and Apple’s CarPlay inspires the new app design.
You can run multiple apps simultaneously with split-screen multitasking. Google Maps is more extensive and displays more information, and Google Assistant has some new features too. There’s a dock at the bottom to show your recent apps.
The new UI resembles Android 12L in a way. The addition of Material You brings the design of this app a notch above. Your device needs Android 8 and up to use all the features properly.
The Coolwalk UI is currently in Beta, and its registration programs are already closed. Since it’s a pre-release version with incomplete software, the optimisation is not as good as a stable release.
As we all know, Beta versions are prone to bugs and issues. However, people willing to take the risk can install an APK from trusted websites. We do not endorse this use, and it’s not recommended to go on a drive that entirely relies on beta software.
Android Auto 8.8 Beta Build is Now Available
Android Auto 8.8 is out for developers and carries no official changelog. We should better understand once the version is out for public use. The only confirmed change is the removal of Android Auto wireless.
The Wireless Connections toggle is missing from the settings, so this change is permanent and not just a temporary experiment. Since there’s not much new, Android Auto 8.8 is probably for bug fixes and stability improvements.
Many users have yet to receive the Coolwalk UI
Unfortunately, the version does not even bring the new Coolwalk UI for developers. Installing the APK of the latest version will not change that. The control for this is with Google on the server side.
Meanwhile, many app developers are optimising their apps to adapt to the new Coolwalk design. Google didn’t share an ETA for when they plan to make Android Auto’s Coolwalk revamp available for public use.
There’s a change Google is waiting for more reports of bugs so that they can patch things up before making it public. Since it’s seeing progress, we should expect it sometime in 2023.