Google Releases Android Auto 8.8 for the First Users, No Good Coolwalk News

Google continues its work on polishing the Android Auto experience, and today, the company shipped the very first build of version 8.8.
The redesigned Android Auto experience 6 photos
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Currently available only for users in the beta program and projected to start rolling out to the production channel in the first half of February, Android Auto 8.8 obviously comes without a changelog.

This means it’s impossible right now to tell what’s been changed in this update, but as it typically happens when Google ships new Android Auto versions, we should be able to get a clearer picture as more users receive the fresh build and notice the differences versus the previous releases.

The only change we know it’s part of this build is the way users can disable Android Auto wireless. Google has quietly removed the dedicated toggle from the settings screen that lets Android Auto users enable and disable the wireless connection mode. While the company has so far remained tight-lipped on this, the feature went missing in Android Auto 8.7, and it is nowhere to be seen in version 8.8 as well.

This proves Google is making this change permanent, so the removal of the wireless connection toggle from settings wasn’t just an experiment. Moving forward, users who want to disable the wireless mode in Android Auto need to manually turn off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on their devices (both are being used by the app to run wirelessly, so shutting them down prevents Android Auto from connecting to the media receiver in the car).

Otherwise, Android Auto 8.8 is likely focused mostly on bug fixing and additional polishing.

In terms of the Coolwalk availability, it obviously doesn’t bring any kind of improvement, as the redesigned Android Auto experience is controlled by Google with a server-side rollout. This means that users are only getting the Coolwalk interface when the search company enables the update on their devices, and manually installing a specific build of Android Auto can’t change anything.

Google hasn’t shared an ETA as to when it plans to make the Coolwalk redesign broadly available to users out there. The rollout is making progress, and there’s a chance the company would accelerate the release pace once the reliability data it collects indicates a low likelihood of bugs. In the meantime, more apps are being updated with support for the redesigned Android Auto UI, with Waze being the latest big name that is capable of running in the card-based UI. The latest beta build of Waze supports Coolwalk, and the same improvement is expected to go live for the stable channel in the coming weeks.

The rollout of Android Auto 8.8 is happening as we speak in the beta program, but on the other hand, you can also give it a try by sideloading the APK on your device.


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