Great news for Android users on the go! The 2015 Hyundai Sonata has become the first vehicle to offer the Android integration system, allowing users to link an Android smartphone to the car, so that they can use the device safely (I for one aren’t too sure how safe any distraction behind the wheel is) with the car’s own screen and controls. Hyundai is making the software part of the 2015 Sonata models, and current owners will me able to add it via a free software update. We expect that other announcements for availability will be available in other vehicles soon.
Android auto is Google’s rival to Apple’s CarPlay system, launched in the previous year. Android users will need the Android 5.0 Lollipop OS or later for compatibility, A micro USB cable is also required to connect the smartphone to the car’s USB port, and users will also need to install the Android Auto companion app. (Available on Google Play.)
Upon connection, users will instantly have recognition to Android apps sch as Google Maps, Google Now, messaging, phone calling, and Google Play Music, with control via voice, steering wheel, or touch screen display. A multitude of third party apps will have compatibility, and it’s expected that more will also follow suite. Some of these apps include iHeartRadio, Spotify, TuneIn, NPR, Stitcher, Skype, and TextMe.
Because this is Google we’re talking about, Android Auto automatically brings travel-based information based off of searches you’ve made with your phone, for example, suggested locations and travel times based on your searches, calendar entries, and home and office locations, as well as weather information and “now playing” information for music streamed via the phone can be presented, through Google Now card-based alerts that appear just when they’re needed.
Supporters of this technology claim the technology helps keep drivers eyes and ettention on the road by using vehicle controls, which have been designed with driving in mind, rather than the actual vehicle controls, which have been designed with driving in mind, as opposed to the actual controls of the smartphone. In fact, the smartphone’s screen is disabled once connected, so drivers aren’t tempted to look down and use their phones directly.
While it’s great to see more Android friendly vehicles, I’m still not comfortable with vehicles having all this technology at arms-reach, it’s still a major distraction and I feel like it could cause more harm than good.