Google Rolls Out a New Android Auto Update, Third Release in a Week

There's a lot going on in the Android Auto world, but nobody can deny Google is a lot more committed to shipping timely updates for its apps.
Android Auto 9.6 starts rolling out 15 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Google
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Not long ago, Android Auto updates were something that users almost begged for. Google used to ship new stable builds once every month, so the bugs users came across typically had to wait up to several weeks for a fix.

The company significantly increased the Android Auto release pace since the debut of the beta program last year. New testing builds roll out regularly, while stable updates are finalized shortly after that. As such, users get Android Auto updates more frequently.

Last week, for example, Google shipped two separate Android Auto builds. The first one was Android Auto 9.5 stable, which started rolling out to production devices through the Google Play Store. The release happened after a few weeks of testing, so there is nothing surprising here.

Then, the search company gave the go-ahead for Android Auto 9.6 beta. The new testing build started rolling out to devices enrolled in the beta program on Friday – as a side note, everybody can download it using the stand-alone APK installer.

However, there's no reason to get the beta build right now, as Google has just kicked off the public rollout of Android Auto 9.6 stable. That's right, a few days after the beta build received the green light, Google decided to finalize the production build and start the rollout to users who aren't enrolled in the testing program.

As per the company's typical approach, no release notes are available, so users once again must discover everything on their own. I wouldn’t expect any big changes in this build, not necessarily because the build number increase suggests a minor release but also because of the reduced time between updates.

Google shipping updates so fast means the company no longer focuses on breaking Android Auto changes. As a result, finalizing new stable builds is faster, so users receive bug-fixing updates at an increased pace.

The latest big Android Auto started rolling out in January when Google announced the Coolwalk overhaul. This feature allows users to run multiple apps on the same screen using a card-based interface. In many ways, Coolwalk is very similar to the CarPlay Dashboard, giving users the option to keep the navigation app on the screen with the audio player.

The Coolwalk rollout takes place in waves, and the new updates released by Google are specifically supposed to help refine the experience with this interface.

Android Auto 9.6 is available from the Google Play Store, but if you don’t want to wait, you can just head over to this page to download the stand-alone APK installer.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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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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