Google’s Android Auto, the popular in-car infotainment system, has quietly rolled out its latest 2023 update, version 10.4. While the search giant hasn’t provided an official changelog, it’s clear that the focus of this release is on addressing glitches and improving overall app performance.
Although some users still complain about a few bugs, overall, the latest update has improved both UI and UX-wise. Let’s delve into what we know about Android Auto 10.4, its phased rollout, user experiences, and a glimpse into what the future holds for this essential driving companion.
Android Auto 10.4: What We Know
Released shortly after the initial beta build, Android Auto 10.4 is now available for download via the Google Play Store. The absence of release notes suggests that Google’s primary goal with this update is to fix existing bugs and enhance the app’s stability.
Google typically employs a phased approach for its updates, initially testing on a limited set of devices to ensure reliability and stability. This process can take several weeks before the update becomes widely available to all users. However, for those who can’t wait, manual installation is an option, albeit with the need to grant special permissions due to Android’s default settings.
Initial user feedback indicates that there are no significant new features in Android Auto 10.4, but the update hasn’t addressed persistent issues like the Coolwalk bug. This particular bug, which causes the lower part of the screen to freeze and impacts navigation, has frustrated users for nearly half a year. While workarounds exist, they’re not permanent solutions, and Google’s slow response to fixing it is noticeable.
Coolwalk UI and the Road Ahead
Despite the lingering issues, Google continues to refine Android Auto with regular updates. The recent release of Coolwalk UI represents a step forward in improving the user experience.
Furthermore, Google plans to expand Android Auto’s availability to approximately 200 million cars by the end of the year, ensuring that more drivers can enjoy its benefits.
Android Auto 10.4: What’s New
While Android Auto 10.4 doesn’t introduce groundbreaking features, it does bring some minor enhancements to the table. These improvements aim to enhance user convenience and safety while navigating the road.
One exciting development is the upcoming addition of new communication apps, including Zoom and Webex by Cisco. These apps will allow users to start and join conference calls via audio directly from their car screens, adding a new level of productivity to their daily commute.
Additionally, Google is introducing on-the-fly updates for its Android apps. A new Assistant widget will provide timely updates such as weather alerts, travel information, and upcoming event reminders, ensuring drivers stay informed while keeping their eyes on the road.
Accessibility and AI Enhancements
Google is also making strides in improving accessibility and AI capabilities within Android Auto. The Lookout app, designed as a visual assistant, will now allow users to ask questions about images using voice commands. This feature, once limited to select users in closed beta, will now benefit a wider audience, providing detailed image descriptions and answering questions.
Furthermore, Lookout will support 11 additional languages, making it accessible to a more diverse user base, including Japanese, Korean, and Chinese speakers.
In the realm of digitalization, Google Wallet is getting an update that enables users to upload photos of cards with barcodes or QR codes, making it easier to keep track of memberships and other important documents on the go.
With the release of Android Auto 10.4, Google is continuing its commitment to improving the in-car infotainment experience. While this update focuses on bug fixes and minor enhancements, the promise of new communication apps and the ongoing development of the Coolwalk UI hint at an exciting future for Android Auto users. As Google works towards making driving safer, more productive, and accessible to all, the road ahead for Android Auto looks promising. Stay tuned for more updates and features as they roll out in the coming months
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