At its I/O 2014 conference, Google took the wraps of the new Android Auto in-car infotainment system. Set to be released as a part of the Android L release later this year, it will be competing with Apple’s CarPlay system.
According to Google, the first cars compatible with Android Auto will arrive before the end of 2014. The company also noted that 40 carmakers around the world, who are the past of Open Automotive Alliance, are working on integrating Android Auto in their cars. Some of the partners are Audi, Bentley, Chevrolet, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Skoda, Volvo, and Suzuki.
Android Auto is not an OS for the car-itself but the consumers will plug-in their own Android smartphones to the car’s console, which will trigger the Android Auto experience on the console powered by the smartphone. For this to work, the automobile need to be Android Auto compatible and the smartphone must be running on an Android version that feature Auto experience.
Android Auto puts navigation, communication, and music front and center, which Google claims are the three main uses of any in-car infotainment system. As everything is powered from the user’s smartphone, the same experience can be taken to any vehicle given it is compatible.
“Just connect your Android phone to a car with Android Auto, and you’ll have what you need at your fingertips such as turn-by-turn navigation from Google Maps, your curated playlists and radio stations through Play Music, simple-to-use voice search, and reminders from Google Now. This is accessible through your car’s controls, and more importantly, is far safer than fumbling around with your phone,” Google noted in a blog post.
Here is a look at the key features of Android Auto:
- Simple and intuitive interface, integrated steering wheel controls, and powerful new voice actions, and designed to minimize distraction
- Brings what you need on the road like navigation, music, voice controls and apps
- Access all of your music, contacts, and messages while keeping your eyes on the road
- Supported by a number of auto-makers