Android Auto 8.8 and 8.9 were two minor updates for Google’s driving companion app. The app makes it easier to control media, browse the web with your voice, send texts, and call hands-free. Expanded GPS Navigation is a significant perk of Android Auto.
Unfortunately, on Android Auto 8.8, many people were facing bugs with GPS navigation. Google didn’t officially acknowledge the problem. There were some workarounds, but it wasn’t enjoyable nonetheless.
Update February 27: Google has started the public rollout of an Android Auto 9.0 version. The update is rolling out through the Google Play Store in stages. It does not bring any noticeable improvement for Coolwalk users.
Android Auto 8.9 broke down WhatsApp functionality for some people, and there aren’t any reports that Android Auto 9.0 fixes that.
With Android Auto 8.9, we saw slight refinements to the Coolwalk UI. The update didn’t bring Coolwalk to everyone, but there were transition and smoothness improvements. There were also animation refinements when switching between apps.
Since we saw Coolwalk go live for some people in January, many Android Auto users who are keeping up with Android eagerly await the UI for themselves. We’re seeing Android Auto 9.0 go into the developer testing phase.
There’s no official changelog of bug fixes with the latest Android Auto 9.0 version. We don’t know if the navigation bugs are there on Android Auto 9.0, but Google might fix them silently.
Google is calling this version “9.0.1307“, and it’s the first Android Auto 9.0 build. It brings absolutely no noticeable changes at all. For some reason, Google is sending out many OTA updates without changelogs.
If you want to install the Android Auto 9.0 version, you have to be enrolled in Google’s Android Auto beta program. If you’re part of the developer beta program, you’ll officially receive the Android Auto 9.0 version.
There’s always a risk associated with using beta software. It matters more here since you connect the Android Auto app to your car. If you’re a beta tester for Android Auto, don’t rely too much on it for navigation or control since it might interfere with driving.
There is a portion of users who are enthusiastic about the new Coolwalk UI. This UI brings multitasking, Material You, a unique minimal design, and better navigation with more extensive map data.
Unfortunately, Android Auto 9.0 does not bring Coolwalk to everyone. You won’t see the new UI directly if you install the latest version.
Google controls the launch on their servers, and we cannot get the new UI officially. Google is rolling out the new UI in stages, and we have to wait until it comes out to everyone eventually.
From what we’re hearing, the Coolwalk UI rollout is happening much faster than before. We still have to wait for Google to launch it publicly, thus giving it global availability. We can’t do much until Google activates the new design.
If you are still interested in trying the new Android Auto 9.0 version, download an APK from a website you trust. Sideloading an APK will give you the latest version, even if you’re not on Google’s developer beta program.
To download and install an APK, you must permit installation from third-party sources. You can skip the Google Play Store and directly install the app. However, this is at your own risk since Google Play Protect doesn’t officially certify third-party apps.
We don’t see a point in downloading it since Google didn’t tie the rollout of Coolwalk UI to a specific version number.