Android Auto: Android Smartphones Mated With Cars
Car companies around the world, Apple and Google have been in a tussle since long to get control of who gets to showcase themselves on the car’s dashboard. Automakers prefer that every motorist use the car default in-built infotainment system. However, in a world where technology makes such a vast difference, why will users, and other tech giants remain fixated on the indigenous design of the auto company’s infotainment system?
It can and accepted that the Apple and Google’s alternatives are considered as better packaged and effectively more intuitive for a user to use.
While Apple has put out Apple Carplay, Android has its Android Auto.
Android Auto has been aimed at making the driving experience safer by the minimizing any distraction, according to Google. The original idea for the development of the Android-based system was to encourage the motorists about keeping the eyes on the roads, and so they keep their hands on the car’s steering wheel. Let’s know more about it!
What Does Android Auto Do?
Android Auto takes in the much-loved features of the Android-powered smartphone and directly puts them on the car’s dashboard. Simplified, isn’t?
It provides information on an easy to use interface in a cards based format that can be swiped out, large icons and legible menus.
Globally acknowledged and lauded as one of the best mapping systems around the world, Google Maps, and its navigation system can be considered as one of the best parts of the Android Auto. The nav system provides auto detection of an alternate route when it detects heavy than usual traffic. It also gives step-by-step directions and ports into the dashboard saved destinations from the phones. This allows the driver/motorist the flexibility of being saved from manually typing each time.
This feature especially comes handy when one has to alternate between ‘Work’, ‘Home’ and favourites, such as restaurants.
This amazing software allows motorists to access on-demand millions of podcasts and music, ability to surf the web and further has the ability to send messages and make phone calls.
And what’s most important is that most of above mentioned features respond to different voice commands as well. One can ask the Android Auto things in this manner, like “OK, Google, play Taylor Swift’s latest album” or even “OK, Google, directions to 221B, Baker Street” and so on. With such a variety of voice commands that help enrich the experience, even messages can be replied to, using the speech-to-text tech.
Now, this is where it gets better; you don’t have to worry if the car isn’t equipped with any voice-recognition technology; since Android Auto features can be made accessible using the car’s touchscreen.
However, an important point to note is that the smartphone’s screen will remain locked as long as Android Auto is active in a vehicle.
Android Auto also gives the motorists an advantage of working with a large number of third-party apps such as Spotify, Skype, Pandora, WhatsApp, and iHeart Radio.
BUT, vehicular settings aren’t a part of Android Auto, so the driver will have to exit the application for adjusting climate controls, browsing radio stations or for selecting a different driving mode. Although, Google being the pioneer it is, is working upon creating new Android-based infotainment systems that will allow access to all these features in just one place.
Phones Compatible With Android Auto
Android Auto has been made to work with all the Android-powered phones, which run Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher. For getting started with the Android Auto, one needs to download the free Android Auto App from the Play Store, post which the phone needs to be connected to the car through its USB cable. Google has further promised wireless support in distant future, which however remains to come yet.
Cars That Are Compatible With Android Auto
A long list of new cars has been made compatible with the system. Though, some manufacturers charge extra for the it, while some choose not to offer the feature on the cheaper trim levels of their vehicles.
Android Auto’s compatible cars include most models in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, Cadillac’s entire lineup, as well as numerous Volvo, Volkswagen, Honda, Kia, and Chevrolet models, apart from many others. Since Android Auto has permeated every car type, whether it is a cheap hatchback, a high end sports car or even a rugged SUV, finding a car that is Android Auto compatible shouldn’t cause much trouble. For anyone who wishes to look at the car and manufacturer’s listwise, they can find the full list on Android Auto’s website.
Although, there still is an automaker that’s withstood resistance from both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and that is Toyota. The Japanese automaker continues to downplay the use of both these technologies citing privacy and safety concerns. Instead, the car maker gets its infotainment systems from TeleNav, a small, California based company. Executives are said to have planned to reconsider the usage of the Android-based system, once it has a better understanding of how the Android Auto protects its consumer’s data, and if it helps drivers in staying focused on the road ahead.
Even then, if someone wants to find a used car that is compatible with Android Auto, they most likely won’t be able to find it. However, aftermarket manufacturers like Sony, Kenwood, Pioneer, and Panasonic do provide head units compatible with Android Auto.