The race to see what automaker will get Android Auto Play into a vehicle has a winner: Hyundai. The company is making the service an option on its 2015 Sonata models right now.
Hyundai will roll the service out to other vehicles in its U.S. line-up throughout the year, but the Sonata gets it first and it’s also available free-of-charge on already-purchased Sonatas equipped with a navigation systems with just a quick stop at a dealership.
“Android Auto aligns with Hyundai’s core interior design principles of safety, intuitiveness and simplicity,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. “We launched this highly anticipated feature on our best-selling Sonata, adding to our promise of value. With the launch of Android Auto, we provide more owners with the experience of cutting-edge technology.”
Later this year, owners will be able to download the software onto a USB memory drive and they can install the upgrade themselves. Owners will need a MyHyundai account to start the Android Auto download.
A MyHyundai account requires name, address and a Vehicle Identification Number. Once the memory drive is inserted into their Sonata’s USB port, it will automatically update the vehicle’s Navigation system to make it Android Auto compatible. The Android Auto compatible Navigation system with an eight-inch touchscreen display is available on the Sonata Sport, Eco, Limited, Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T models.
Owners will need the Android 5.0 “Lollipop” operating system or later, and the Android Auto companion app on their compatible phone to integrate Android Auto into Sonata’s screen and controls.
Android phone applications, such as Google Maps, Google Now, messaging, phone calling and Google Play Music will be available once an Android phone to their Hyundai vehicle. These applications can be controlled by voice, steering wheel controls and touchscreen. Android Auto offers third-party audio apps, such as iHeartRadio, Spotify, TuneIn, NPR, Stitcher, Skype and TextMe.
(Google unveils Android Auto infotainment system. For more, Click Here.)
Automakers have been making a fuss over Auto Play and its Apple competitor, CarPlay, for some time now. CarPlay is set up in a similar manner and also offers many of the apps mentioned earlier. Once both systems were announced, several automakers picked sides.
Acura, Infiniti, Mazda, and Renault, as well as most of the Fiat Chrysler and Volkswagen (except Porsche) line-ups jump in with Auto Play while BMW, Citroen, Ferrari, Jaguar-Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot and Toyota took up with CarPlay.
(Click Here for details about Apple’s CarPlay system.)
Since then, many are offering options for both systems. In fact, the introduction of Auto Play is expected to open the floodgates for automakers to add one system or the other – perhaps both – to their new vehicles. Having the systems equates to more sales in the minds of automakers.
A survey by the Consumer Electronics Association found that an important consideration for 59% of the U.S. consumers of driving age. And nearly half, a total of 47%, said they wanted to be able to use their smartphone apps while driving.
(To see more about what kind of technology drivers want in cars, Click Here.)
GM moved quickly to take advantage of that desire by offering Wi-Fi in many of its vehicles, essentially making their cars, trucks and SUVs rolling Internet cafes.