Android Auto 9.1 is now shipping to users enrolled in the beta testing program. However, the APK installer allows all users to install it if they are comfortable running pre-release software on their devices.
Google does not publish changelogs for Android Auto updates and version 9.1 is no exception. In other words, it’s hard to say what’s changed in this update. Users will have to discover this for themselves and more information is expected to emerge as the rollout progresses.
The beta version of Android Auto 9.1 doesn’t seem to feature any significant changes, so most likely the focus is on polishing up the redesign announced in January.
Google announced Coolwalk in January, after previously promising to release the update in summer 2022. The company missed the launch target because certain features were not available for production devices.
Coolwalk allows users to run multiple apps side-by-side on dedicated maps. Each app category is provided with a card. Navigation solutions get the largest widget because they need the largest screen to provide route guidance. Music apps, including Spotify, run on a smaller card because they only show essential song information.
Coolwalk’s rollout is progressing at a rather frustrating pace. Google has not released this major update to all users as it uses a server-driven rollout. For the company, this is the right approach, as it gives more time to prevent major bugs from reaching users’ devices.
Whenever a bug is spotted, Google may suspend the Coolwalk rollout for certain hardware configurations. As such, some users will get the new design faster than others, as it all depends on the reliability of the data being collected by Google.
New Android Auto updates do not enable Coolwalk and the recently released version does not change this. On the other hand, Google has used the latest updates to further polish the new design.
The most recent Android Auto versions made applications smoother and also added additional options for the dashboard layout. Users are allowed to choose which map they want closer to the driver, with two options offered, namely navigation and media. The same settings are also bundled with version 9.1 beta, and chances are more such improvements are hidden there.
Keep in mind that Android Auto 9.1 is still in beta, which means current builds have a higher chance of bugs. The stable version should be shipped to all users in a few weeks if no major bug is discovered.