Google Teases Two New Android Auto Apps, Launch Now Imminent

Two new communication apps will launch on Android Auto soon 16 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Google
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The "coming soon" phrase is slowly becoming a Google trademark, as the company keeps using the same words for new features that take too long to launch.
Earlier this year, when it announced the Coolwalk update for Android Auto, Google revealed that users would "soon" get a couple of new apps that would allow them to remain productive in the car. The announcement was made in January, but here we are in September, still waiting for these apps. Webex by Cisco and Zoom were originally expected during the summer.

Google has now published a new blog post to remind the world that "new communication apps are coming soon to Android Auto." The company says Webex by Cisco and Zoom are still in the works for the car experience, but it again refuses to provide any ETA specifics.

I'm being told the release of at least one of these two apps is just around the corner. Zoom has finalized the work on the Android Auto integration, so the production launch should take place in the coming weeks. Cisco might need additional time to prepare Webex for Android Auto, though it's unclear if Google wants to announce the release of both apps simultaneously or the company would allow them to ship when they're ready.

Meanwhile, Google has updated the Android feature website with a reference to Zoom and Webex on Android Auto. The page lists the September 2023 updates for Android users, so presumably, the two apps could make their way to the car this month. Google lists Webex by Cisco with a beta tag for the reasons I told you above. The software might not be ready for the stable channel, so it could ship to users in beta.

The new reference on the Android website
Photo: Google
Webex and Cisco would work on Android Auto similar to other communication apps, such as Microsoft Teams. Android Auto will only allow audio calls (video calls are blocked for obvious reasons), with a dedicated interface letting users browse meeting schedules from the infotainment screen. All calls are managed by Android Auto, so you get one-tap access to essential controls, such as muting the microphone and ending the call.

Meanwhile, Google is also working on additional refinements for Android Auto. Version 10.0 introduced a new Google Assistant animation when using voice commands, with Google seemingly rolling out the new visual effect in stages. Additionally, Google also changed how users interact with Google Maps on Android Auto – instead of saying "gas stations," users must now use a more straightforward command like "show me nearby gas stations."

The most recent stable version of Android Auto at the time of writing is 10.3, but the update to version 10.4 is expected to roll out in the coming days, as the beta build is already available for download.
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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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