Yesterday, May 26, Hyundai launched the 2015 Sonata, becoming the first car company with a production vehicle available with Android Auto.
For current owners of 2015 Sonatas with Navigation, there is a free Android Auto software update available. Android Auto will be available on other Hyundai models in the near future.
Android Auto integrates the driver’s smartphone with the vehicles command screen and controls, thus streamlining the use of the infotainment system and reducing distractions.
“Android Auto aligns with Hyundai’s core interior design principles of safety, intuitiveness and simplicity,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. “We launched this highly anticipated feature on out 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.”
In regards to safety, Android Auto helps by providing a familiar centralized screen and controls, and responds to voice commands. But, the feature that increases safety the most, the smartphone’s screen becomes locked while in use, removing the temptation to interact with the phone, and taking the driver’s eyes from the road.
To use Android Auto, owners will need a smartphone working on Android 5.0 “Lollipop” or later, and the Android Auto companion app. A micro USB cable is required to connect the phone to the car’s USB port the first time. Afterward, the phone and the car can communicate using Bluetooth.
Once connected, Android Auto will run native Google apps such as Google Maps, Google Now and Google Play Music, as well as popular third party apps like iHeartRadio, Spotify, TuneIn, NPR, Stitcher, Skype, TextMe and many more.
There are many other advantages of Android Auto over traditional infotainment systems. For example, the app software is automatically updated since the apps live on the phone. Also, personal reminders, suggested destinations, calendar appointments and music preferences are tailored to each owner.
Anyone who has spent any time using Android Auto say it is a vast improvement and that it won’t be long before it (and Apple’s CarPlay, planned to be available on cars soon) will be the standard tool for in-car navigation and communication.
What do think about Hyundai being the first to launch a car with Android Auto? Are you excited or hesitant about the future of in-car infotainment?