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Allo v6 prepares to introduce a vote bot, notifications on Android Auto, animated emoji, and new drawing tools [APK Teardown]

Last week was pretty busy with some big app updates and even bigger product announcements. One update that slipped through the cracks was Allo v6. There aren't any obvious new features, but there's plenty for a teardown. Some of the upcoming features will include a chat bot to enable voting among members of a group chat, Android Auto support, animated emoji, and some new drawing tools.

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Google is rolling out 'OK Google' hotword support for Android Auto [APK Download]

Android Auto has existed for almost two years now, but it's improved only slightly in that time. One of the more vexing inadequacies in Android Auto thus far has been the lack of OK Google support. With the latest version, the hotword trigger is finally a thing.

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In response to huge US traffic death surge, NHTSA proposing stricter in-vehicle smartphone guidelines

If you've been reading anything about traffic fatalities in the United States in the last year or so, you've probably heard that we're in the midst of a rather alarming increase in the number of people dying on American roads. In 2015, over 38,000 people were killed in vehicular incidents (this includes pedestrians, cyclists, solo crashes, and multi-vehicle accidents). That was an increase of 7.2% over 2014. 2016 is looking much worse yet, seeing a surge of around 10% over the already grim 2015 numbers. For comparison, the traffic death rate per 100 million vehicle miles is also way up, the worst it's been in seven years (i.e., this is not a simple result of more miles being driven).

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Sony XAV-AX100 Android Auto headunit available for pre-order

Android Auto is starting to pick up a little bit of steam, which is nice to see for us car audio nerds. Recently, Auto hit v2.0 which brought with it some changes, including an on-phone mode. For those of us who do not have a fancy new car that includes the smartphone connectivity, aftermarket headunits are our next best bet. That brings us to Sony's first dip into this particular arena, the XAV-AX100. Announced back in August, we only got some news about features. Well, now this bad boy is up for pre-order at $499.

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Android Auto integration with Facebook Messenger now available

Texting while driving can be extremely dangerous, but replying to messages with your voice is probably the safest way to do it. I've used Google Now (well, it's not called Now anymore) on my Nexus 5X countless times to send SMS and Hangouts messages while driving. Facebook today announced that the Facebook Messenger application for Android has added support for Android Auto.

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Android Auto v2.0 has a jump shortcut for lists in audio apps and prepares to add several new settings and a homescreen shortcut [APK Teardown + Download]

Android Auto v2.0 began rolling out earlier this week with a pretty significant redesign that made the driving mode part of the app's primary UI. There were quite a few changes to support the on-phone Auto simulator, including a fair number of new options like the ability to auto-launch with certain Bluetooth connections (and prevent that if it's still in a pocket).

While most of the new features are easy to discover when poking around in either the driving mode interface or in the couple of config screens, there's a new feature in the audio player that deserves to be called out on its own.

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Logitech's ZeroTouch car mounts re-purposed as Android Auto mounts, now available from Google Store

Some months ago, Logitech released a pair of car mounts called "ZeroTouch." At the time, I thought they were interesting, but ultimately not worth the high price. Now, this same hardware is back on the Google Store as an Android Auto mount. The price is still crazy, though.

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Android Auto v2.0 is rolling out with on-phone mode [APK Download]

Google announced it would be making Android Auto available directly on your phone's screen a while back, but it didn't offer any time frame. It was starting to look like it was never happening, but lo and behold, Android Auto on phones is now rolling out. It's part of the Android Auto v2.0 app, and we've got the APK ready for you.

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DoubleTwist Player update brings a fresh UI and support for Chromecast, Android Wear, and Android Auto

DoubleTwist got its start way back in the early days of Android, when users wanted an easy way to sync music from iTunes to their non-Apple phones. (And also, this was back when human beings still used iTunes.) The scope of the music player has broadened and generalized since then... and truth be told, it's kind of stalled as well, especially since the Cloud Player came out. The last update it had before today was way back in February. But today's bump is significant: in addition to a new user interface, it brings baked-in support for Chromecast, Android Wear, and Android Auto.

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InBrief
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Mercedes and Kia add new Android Auto models

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