Android Auto – new in-car OS to battle Apple CarPlay

Miffed that only iPhone users so far get to have a holistic in-car experience with their phones with Apple CarPlay? Google is addressing that with an in-car OS of its own, called Android Auto.

Like CarPlay, Android Auto isn’t installed in the car; rather, it is built into Android itself and takes over the car’s existing screen and infotainment system when a phone is plugged in. The interface gives the driver direct access to the phone’s calls, messages and music, allows navigation through Google Maps built specifically for automotive use and can even show vehicle service information if it is available.

In addition to the existing touchscreen and physical controls (like Audi’s MMI knob), Android Auto can also, like CarPlay, be controlled by voice, this time through Google Now. As with its competitor, the system also features support from third-party apps such as Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio.

The first cars supporting Android Auto will be available in late 2014 and the impressive roster of automotive partners announced for the system include Audi, Chevrolet, the Fiat Chrysler brands (excluding Ferrari, whose cars will support CarPlay only), Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Volkswagen and Volvo.

Many of these companies have also signed up with Apple for CarPlay, meaning that their cars will potentially be able to support both systems. Volvo has already announced that the upcoming XC90 will come with support for both CarPlay and Android Auto.

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Jonathan Lee

After trying to pursue a career in product design, Jonathan Lee decided to make the sideways jump into the world of car journalism instead. He therefore appreciates the aesthetic appeal of a car, but for him, the driving experience is still second to none.



  • Mr IT on Jul 03, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Wau.. that is interesting.. can we have it soon and integrate with what we have now?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3
  • nabill (Member) on Jul 03, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Does it need a continuous data plan for it to work..?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3
  • gutierrez on Jul 03, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    waa this is good news to me! I dont have to use my pathetic toyota touch screen head unit that is slow and laggy as fcuk! hopefully reputable brads like pioneer and alpine could implement this a.s.a.p.c.! this will surely breathe a new life for my car!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
  • tishaban on Jul 03, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Sensationalist title Jonathan? It’s not a battle is it since as mentioned in the article, the users will likely have a choice :P

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
    • sutrak on Jul 03, 2014 at 11:18 pm

      as usual, android lagging behind apple. i don’t see how they can effectively implement things like this when they can’t even synchronize android revisions across manufacturers. so, which android version will get this feature? will your samsung be able to connect?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 13
      • During Google I/O recently, they already announce that all UI will be based on Android Stock ROM for the Android TV, Android Wear and Android Auto, so that they can have total control and push updates better, differ than the mobile platform. All android capable phone (may be 4.3 and above) should be able to connect.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
      • DrCooper on Jul 04, 2014 at 10:31 am

        First they see what ever complaint and curses customers throw at apple then fix that weakness for their product.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Denaihati on Jul 03, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    i hope proton and perodua also included in the list. this is wide range of usage rather than just car player/infotainment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
  • Hart932 on Jul 05, 2014 at 8:12 am

    I bet it hangs & crashes often as apps do on Android phones especially when gps computes & track for long distances.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

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