Android Auto 8.9 Starts Rolling Out With a Small Coolwalk Surprise

Android Auto 8.9 beta now available 8 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
Android Auto Coolwalk interfaceAndroid Auto Coolwalk interfaceAndroid Auto Coolwalk interfaceAndroid Auto Coolwalk interfaceAndroid Auto Coolwalk interfaceAndroid Auto weather cardContextual card displayed in the top left corner
As if the wait for Coolwalk wasn’t already painful enough, the most recent beta build of Android Auto comes with additional animation refinements for the big redesign everybody is drooling after.
Android Auto 8.9, which was shipped to beta testers earlier this week and is now available for everybody who doesn’t mind to manually install the APK, further refines the experience with Coolwalk, but of course, this only happens if the new interface is already enabled on your device.

Google started rolling out the Android Auto redesign in early January, but the company is using a phased release, therefore enabling Coolwalk in stages.

This model gives Google more time to detect major bugs and prevent them from hitting certain devices, with the company eventually enabling the new interface for more devices when the collected reliability data indicates a reduced likelihood of problems.

The Coolwalk rollout is therefore making progress, but most users out there are still waiting for the new interface to show up on their devices. Given this feature isn’t tied to a specific Android Auto update, there’s nothing they can do to hurry up the process, as Google is the only one that can activate Coolwalk with a server-side switch.

In addition to monitoring quality data received from devices where Coolwalk is enabled, Google is also working on further polishing for the redesign.

Beta build 8.9 makes the transition from music to navigation smoother, though the change isn’t visible for all. On wide screens, the animation isn’t enabled by default, as it requires a dedicated flag to be disabled before it allows the separator between the app to display the new motion effect. Most likely, Google will enable the new transition for everybody when the work on this front is finalized.

Given Android Auto 8.9 is still in the beta phase, Google experimenting with such refinements makes perfect sense, as this is precisely the purpose of a testing program in the first place. On the other hand, what’s essential to keep in mind is that not all features that make their way to the beta builds show up in production releases as well.

Based on the feedback it receives from users, Google can eventually decide if it brings a certain idea to the stable version of Android Auto. This sometimes takes a lot of time, so don’t hold your breath for this new animation to show up in Coolwalk when Android Auto 8.9 starts going live for everybody.

If the typical release calendar is used, the stable version of Android Auto 8.9 should start rolling out in a few weeks, but it remains to be seen if this new app switching animation shared on reddit by user shmykelsa would be ready for all users or not.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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