Android Auto Expected To Launch In February 2015

Posted by: Kenny Chan onNovember 24th, 2014


First of all, I just wanted to say that Android Auto and CarPlay are both going to be great departures from the antiquated systems from automakers which are obsolete the day the vehicle rolls off the production line. Both third party systems get the benefit of being perpetually updated with the latest features, and as owners upgrade their phones the processing power of their vehicle infotainment systems also gets a boost. This is because on both Android Auto and CarPlay, the phone does all of the processing. The vehicle’s infotainment system simply hands off control to Android Auto, or CarPlay depending on what phone is connected to the cable.

While this flexibility is great, it can sometimes result in a less than ideal user experience. For example, in the Hyundai Sonata demo vehicle, if you are in navigation mode and now want to listen to the radio, the system has to exit back out to the Hyundai system where you can choose the station you want to listen to and then jump back into Android Auto to return to your navigation. A more elegant system would be to have both systems running simultaneously without the need to switch between the two interfaces. For users that will stay inside of Android Auto however, the strict design guidelines do provide a consistent user interface throughout all of the apps. It looks like Google is taking a page out of Apple’s playbook here with a more “closed” system, at least on the design restrictions.

Overall the system did perform decently although there were a few instances where Android Auto didn’t seem as responsive. There were also some issues where multiple music apps were fighting for control of the vehicle’s audio system. The utilization of Google Now into the “home” screen of Android Auto will seamlessly integrate our mobile devices, desktops, laptops and now our vehicles into a single platform. Search for directions to the restaurants at home on your tablet, and when you hop into your car Google Now will automatically prompt if you want to set that as a destination in the navigation system.

I understand we are playing with pre-production software but hopefully some of the glitches will be ironed out as the release date is approaching pretty quickly. No automakers have announced any firm release dates, but we learned through a Google rep here at the LA Auto Show that they believe Hyundai’s Android Auto release date is February 2015 on the Sonata. Hyundai will likely also launch CarPlay, which they were also demoing, if it is ready to go. There have been a couple CarPlay delays, but we’ve been told to expect that to launch in 2015. Hopefully they meant early 2015.

Google just released the Android Auto SDK last week publicly while select partners had early access to develop launch apps. We’ll see if Hyundai is able to get everything working by February, but either way we’ll be taking a closer look at both systems once they hit the road.

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