Android Beta update - v0.5.2 is available!

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  • Updated 4 years ago
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We're getting closer to our non-beta release of the Android app! Thank you to all of you who are providing us with feedback on the beta app.

UPDATE: Android 0.5.2 is available (as of 3/28)

Improvements

  • Less Battery drain

  • Bluetooth connectivity improvements



Bugfix

  • Wifi connectivity when using Bluetooth improved



UPDATE: Android 0.5.1 is available (as of 3/26)

New Feature

  • Daily Score graph! Tap the score circle to see your Drive Score per day



Improvements

  • Allow user to disable WiFi & Bluetooth

  • Use foreground-based service (with icon) to ensure stability



Bugfixes

  • App stability largely improved; less crashes

  • App should no longer re-prompt you to run Setup



We're still working on an issue some of you have noticed wherein you will disconnect from WiFi when using the app. A fix for this is presently in the app, but it requires a firmware-level update in order to function properly. We expect to be able to roll out that firmware update within a week or two, and once that happens, WiFi connectivity should improve.

You will also notice that in this release, we have brought back the system-tray notification icon -- this is to comply with Google's new rules regarding background-service apps. Essentially, the Android OS wants users to know whenever there is a background service such as Automatic running. In exchange, they don't shut down that service like they would other services in order to save memory. So that we can provide critical services such as Crash Alert, as well as to ensure reliability of the app in general, we've opted to include the notification.

Please see this FAQ topic for our most recent update about this.

Update from Android.

There’s a more detailed explanation of the changes here as well.

As always, contact android.help@automatic.com if you experience any issues. Thanks for being a Beta tester!

Previous Release: Android 0.5

Features

  • Multi-car support



Improvements

  • Added "Report a problem" screens

  • Reliability improvements on 4.4+ phones (Nexus 5, Moto X)

  • Added Bluetooth toggle

  • 1/2 of multi-platform support: Accounts created on Android can now log into iOS seamlessly



Bug Fixes

  • MIL Bugfixes

  • Patched open file handles issue (caused issues with 0.4.2)



Note: It may take a few hours to show up for everyone.

Haven't joined the Beta but want in? 
Please go to our Android Beta Google Group and join! Please be sure to read the Known Issues post before installing the app.

Read up on past releases here, here and here.
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Automatic Team, Official Rep

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Posted 4 years ago

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Patrick

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Got it! Already changed my cars color!
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Robert Sherwood

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The update is asking for new permissions:

Phone Calls - Read Phone Status and Identity
Reading Interaction Info - Read your Contacts.

I assume this is related to the the new features, but can you explain specifically what the app will do with the new permissions?
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Amy

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I'm inquiring with the developers.
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Amy

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Ok, so "Read Your Contacts" is there as a foundation for the Crash Alert feature which will be coming later. One of the features of Crash Alert is that you can add emergency contacts to your app via your "Contacts" in your phone. In the event of a crash, a call center agent will call those emergency contacts to let them know. The act of you adding those emergency contacts is the only time Automatic accesses your "Contacts".

The "Read Phone Identity" is used to get the 'androidPhoneIdentifier', used to save Link info on your phone. We'll need this there in the near future as we support users who want to use multiple Android/iPhones all with one account.
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David Adams

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Amy,
Thank you so much for getting back with us.
Regards,
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Kenny Root

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Does ACTION_PICK with the contacts provider not work for this use case?
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Matt, Former Employee

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Hey Kenny, `ACTION_PICK` does in fact work, and we are switching to use that in the latest version.

For those wondering what this means, the use case Amy described above to set up Emergency Contacts for the upcoming Crash Alert feature now uses a different method, one that makes the permission to "Read Contacts" unnecessary. Thanks!
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Gabriel Graves

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Ever since this update this morning, my 6 trips haven't been showing or recording.
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Amy

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Yikes, Gabriel. Just realized you never got a response here. So sorry about that. Did things start working again? It's possible you also could've been going through a firmware update at the same time which might have temporarily affected trip capturing.
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Gabriel Graves

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Things did start working so it was possible that the firmware was causing it but I'm not sure. The way I solved it was by unlinking the automatic and signing in and going through the wizard. It started working after that. This upgrade worked perfectly.
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Amy

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Great. Glad you figured it out & got things working! Thanks for letting us know.
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Joseph Z

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0.5 and kitkat 4.4.2 seem to have improved Bluetooth connectivity. Down to 10 seconds versus 2 minutes to start driving.
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Amy

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That's great to hear, Joseph. Hopefully 0.5.1 will be even better. Thanks for the feedback!
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Aldous Huxley

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The (Android (Samsung, Verizon)) installed app doesn't allow an update. I tried any and all accounts I have associated with Google Play Store and it doesn't show up anywhere.
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Amy

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Sorry for the delay, Aldous. Are you still unable to update the app?
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Amy

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0.5.1 has been released to the Google Play Store. Please read the updated post at the top for all the release notes. Thanks!
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Leif Abbott

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Taskbar Icon.


In the latest android beta, there is a persistent (read: can't disable) "waiting to drive" icon in my taskbar. This is uneccrssary and takes up precious real estate that I would much rather be used up by important notifications. Please give us the ability to turn this off or remove it altogether. Even displaying an icon when its connected should be an optional thing.
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Amy

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I merged this here because our release notes at the top explain why this is currently necessary.
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Amy

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That being said, we will improve this. We totally get that folks want more control over this. The feedback we're hearing about this is helpful!
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David Webb

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I'm gunna pass on updating due to that foreground notification fiasco.
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Jonathan Chin

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yes please kill it with fire - the negative impact of persistent foreground notifications outweigh any novelty this app may have.
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nswint

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The new beta is using alot of CPU and keep awake time. I suggest allowing users to select foreground or background. For me I'd prefer background.

Possible suggestions on lowering the CPU and Keep Awake Time:
*Manage Bluetooth Only. No wifi management
*Try some lower cpu activities to engage bluetooth:
Periodic bt le scan looking for strong(er) rssi
Change in power state from battery to ac/usb/wireless charging
Accelerometer/orientation change to indicate in car dock/holder/lap

Backgrounding the app as soon as ignition off is received and the location is gathered... keeping it backgrounded until it's in range of the the Automatic, Ignition on and/or change in power state, accelerometer/orientation change.

If I think of some more suggestions I'll post.

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jared.mcguire

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I agree. I have a few other apps that have "foreground mode" as an option. It's worth giving the end user that option because then I have control of what apps get priority in the icon tray. For me, it isn't critical that automatic be in foreground mode. I am not concerned about it missing a trip every now and then, mostly because it has not missed any. Though if I do a road trip, I would then set it to foreground mode to ensure all is captured. Just my thoughts.
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Joseph Z

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"Unfortunately, the Automatic Beta app has stopped responding." Once again returns.
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Amy

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When & where do you see that, Joseph?
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Joseph Z

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I was multitasking at the time out of range from the dongle. When I got back to my car and opened automatic without the car started, it pulled up what the last app was and stated the error message.

Not sure if it was because I had 10 or so apps in the background then including Hay Day.
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Amy

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That could be. Android apparently kills background apps, particularly if you have a lot open I believe. I'll ask the Android devs about this, though.
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Joseph Z

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Somehow I replicated it again 20 miles later. I was at work and came to my car and drove off to an appointment without opening the app first. After my drive ended I opened the app. "Unfortunately automatic app has suddenly stopped." Lost a whole trip to the appt
(Edited)
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Amy

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This could be the issue we explained where Android kills background apps. It's why we added the persistent system tray notification. However, everyone was so unhappy about that notification that we've now removed it in the latest version. Anyway, please upgrade to the new beta app 0.9 and see how it goes. If you continue to see this issue, please start a new topic about it. I'm closing this topic now and directing everyone to the new Update topic about the latest release. Thanks, Joseph!
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Adam Cupelli

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Just wondering on why the Automatic app has to manage Wifi? If you're driving you wont have a wifi connection and you'll need to just use data and bluetooth. Maybe have a button to just manage bluetooth and not wifi.
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Amy

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Hi Adam - please see this other post that discusses the wifi issue. Duncan has some responses to it that are at the top of the thread.
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Lord Kestral

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I really like the changes added to 0.5.1 & 0.5.2, particularly the A being back on the notification bar at the top and the brake lights and headlights (on the auto little care icon on the left side of the screen) turning on as you scroll fwd and backwards through the trips. Car color on that same icon is a nice touch too. Less crashes too but still occasionally crashes. Looks like it has most of the same functionality as my iPad mini retina now.
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Amy

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Awesome. Thanks for the feedback!
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David Webb

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"Use foreground-based service (with icon) to ensure stability."

Pass.
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Amy

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Sorry about that, David. We've explained above why that was necessary as well as what we're doing to work around it since so many folks are unhappy with that solution. It will be addressed very soon.
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Jeff Palmer

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I got this update the day it was released. I just got an email telling me that I'm using the old version, and to please upgrade.

Are your backend systems out of sync?
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Darryl Fern, Champion

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Yeh got that too....I dunno..already running the latest version
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Justin Novack

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It's possible. They could've pulled all accounts still checked in under 0.5.0 and by the time they gave it to marketing and had dispatched the email, people could have updated. Consider it a service they reminded you. :)
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Jeff Palmer

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Sure, it could be a lot of things. As a beta tester, I want to provide feedback about where I feel their systems can be improved (backend, frontend, app, workflow, etc) since, if this sort of thing happened after the app was generally available, it could cause a fair amount of confusion for less "savvy" users.
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Amy

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Thanks for the feedback guys. Our engineers noticed a lot of folks were still on older versions of the app and we wanted to encourage everyone to get on the latest. Both for your own experience as the app is getting more & more stable with each release and to help us test the latest version as we are VERY close to coming out of beta. If you hadn't driven since upgrading then our latest records would show you on the previous app version so that could explain why you got the email even though you were already up to date. Marketing wasn't involved. (Truthfully, we don't have much of a marketing department yet). Our lead Android dev & I wrote the email and he sent it out through our server. Apologies for any confusion. Thanks for staying up to date on the app!
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Justin Novack

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Update solves some issues. Killed 0.5.0, force reinstalled from Google Play.

1) I had some battery issues, the 0.5.2 update seems to have mitigated that.
2) I had missing trips and no connectivity, the 0.5.2 update seems to have mitigated that.

So far, so good. Good job peeps!
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Amy

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Awesome. Super glad to hear that, Justin. Thanks for sharing it.
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Peter Denham

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Is it ok to force close the app to remove the notification and open it prior to starting a trip? I'm a casual/weekend driver and don't need the notification on 24/7.
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Jeff Palmer

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I'm planning on doing exactly this with tasker, as I prefer to have my notification area clear aside from.. notifications. When my phone isn't connected to my cars bluetooth, kill the process. when it connects, start the process.

I'll give the 'automatic' folks time to determine if they are going to leave it, or change it before doing the tasker thing, though.
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Amy

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Yes, that should be fine, Peter. The main thing to remember is that if the app isn't open, your trip won't be captured.
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Eagle One

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I haven't noticed any issues related to battery life at all on my Moto X. It lasts all day like it always has. The app still crashes on occasion.

I still need to see if it still records incidents like hard accel or stops differently than my iPad. If I'm carrying both or just one; when the other gets the trip info the stops and accel info is sometimes reversed on the different devices.
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Amy

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Yeah, we definitely don't recommend having the app activated on both devices at the same time while they're both in the car on a drive. All kinds of funky behavior can occur.

Glad to hear you're not experiencing any battery issues. Not sure what's causing the app crashes. Do you have a lot of other apps running at the time this happens?
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Eagle One

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Yeah, that iPad goes everywhere with me so there's no getting around that conflict! The crashes on the Moto X happen randomly when in the car, driving, with iPad or no. Happens in the house too just checking my trips for the week. I have e-mail clients, acrobat, fandango and a few others but I mainly use it as a phone with text and e-mail, light surfing. Very little web and no games. No Netflix or music streaming services.
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Amy

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Ok, that might just be a bug that will be addressed in an upcoming release then.

With regard to both devices in your car at the same time, I'd suggest being logged out of Automatic on one of them, then, or turning off Bluetooth on one of them when driving so that Automatic knows which device to connect to and doesn't give you a wonky data.
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Eagle One

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Ok, I'll disable BT on the iPad and see how the Moto x does.
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Amy

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Update! We've released beta 0.9. System Tray Notification has been removed. Please read the release notes here. I'll be closing this topic. Thanks for all the feedback!

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