Automobiles have now achieved a state in our life where they are present for more than just transportation. Cars now have a much wider spectrum to play with many cars now focused on almost comfort, features, luxury, safety, technology, and lots more. One such important aspect where automobiles have got better over all these years is in terms of infotainment and connectivity features. There were literally no proper connectivity options that were available with a car when you go back two decades.
Today, You can get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on a hatchback like Chevrolet Sonic to a pickup truck like the 2021 Toyota Tundra to even luxury cars like the BMW 3 Series. It is present everywhere and that is how prominent both these connectivity technologies have developed in the past few years in the industry.
But here we are now with various types of infotainment systems, user interfaces, technologies, and connectivity options. And this is just expected to get better and better in the coming years given the rise of technology and connectivity not just in the automotive industry but as a whole. As said earlier, we have multiple ways to connect to your car. We have come a long way back from just connecting your device to your car and are now applying much complex connectivity these days.
Before we get started, let us be clear and honest guys, as of now it is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that is ruling the connectivity technology in the industry. That is because both these technologies from their respective multinational giants offer almost everything as one with a smartphone.
And these days everyone has a smartphone that can now be used for a multitude of connectivity features thanks to Google’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay. Both Google and Apple’s car interaction software for their respective operating systems are now far more advanced and affluent than any other connectivity technology before.
They integrate seamlessly with the car’s infotainment system and work flawlessly well over and over again. And all cars get these features no matter whatever the price they sell at or whatever the segment it is.
And yes guys, the catalyst for these improved connectivity technology features is the infotainment screens which are getting bigger in recent days. Manufacturers are going for bigger and bigger displays in their vehicles to provide more screen estate so that more information can be displayed.
Having such a big screen comes in really handy when showing navigation information. These bigger screens, that is, the hardware that manufacturers put inside their cars demanded great software too. Both hardware and software have to work in symphony to give the best possible experience to the customer. Now, let us take a look at some of the other prominent connectivity options that are available in today’s cars.
Apple’s smartphones and software are ranked the best for customer satisfaction over all these years. So when they make something, they really perfect the same making sure it works in an intuitive and responsive manner given their success with smartphones and smartphones.
As you all know, Apple CarPlay is an in-vehicle smartphone interaction interface made by Apple to facilitate the vehicle’s infotainment system usage especially while driving. The great thing about Apple’s CarPlay is that it will be very familiar to Apple iPhone users straightaway. Now that is because the user interface and home screen all look very similar to that of the iPhone.
All the apps icons and the way they work are very identical to that of the iPhone’s user interface. Now, of course, this has been done intentionally by Apple to make sure that their customers are familiar with the new software’s interface and that they have a pleasant experience. And when connected, the driver can use the CarPlay software to take or end calls, use the Siri voice assistant, receive navigation information, and obviously listen to music.
Yet another great thing about Apple’s CarPlay is that most of its models are compatible with Apple CarPlay. This helps in a way that you do not need the latest smartphones to make sure CarPlay works with your smartphone. And most of Apple CarPlay’s features can be accessed through the help of the Siri voice assistant. This can do almost all the basic commands with great ease like call, navigation, and play or pause to even some complex commands like adding a reminder to an event when you are driving.
Also, Apple has added more third-party apps support to CarPlay making sure that the favorite applications of its customers are present even in the CarPlay interface. Some of the most notable and popular third-party apps include the likes of Spotify, Waze, WhatsApp, and Audible. And just like on your iPhone, you can easily access these apps right from your CarPlay’s home screen.
The other massive tech giant in the tech industry with even more exposure to software is Google. We all know that Google is more of a software company than just hardware and they have done great software over all these years. That is evident from the fact that Android is the most popular and widely used operating system in the world. So what is Android Auto is a very simple question to answer. Android Auto is basically the Android counterpart for Apple CarPlay. And just like you guessed it, most of the features of Android Auto are very similar to the Apple CarPlay.
But Android Auto being a connectivity technology for Android smartphones from Google, it is very obvious that everything from the user interface, home screen to the app icons are similar to that on a typical Android smartphone. But unlike Apple, the compatibility of Android Auto is different as not all Android smartphones get this feature pre-installed on their device. Users running Android 9 or below on their smartphones have to install the Android Auto app from Google’s Play Store to make Android Auto work.
But users from and upwards of Android 10 have this feature pre-installed in their device. Google has a much bigger network and they have lots of services that kind of rule the world that we currently live in. And just like with your Android smartphone, now you can get all these features even on your car with Google’s Android Auto interface. On top of all these, you are also getting the best voice assistant ever, Google Assistant. There are no two ways about it, Google’s voice assistant is far more superior, powerful, and offers lots of functionalities and features compared to Apple CarPlay.
Now, this is pretty simple and straightforward unlike both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Here, there is no separate interface to interact with the vehicle’s infotainment system. Rather, we can use all the features that were offered by the manufacturer in its own interface. This might include the likes features like a navigation system, messaging services, and entertainment apps.
But here, all of these features need your smartphone’s connection and internet connectivity to work seamlessly. If you do not have your smartphone then you are left with no internet connectivity and thus no connectivity to your vehicle. Before the era of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Connected car technology this type of connectivity ruled the industry for all these years.
And this is still the most prominent connectivity technology that is used currently in almost most of the car models sold in the United States automotive industry. General Motors’ MyLink system which is offered in Chevrolet and GMC models is a great example of this kind of connectivity technology.
Connected Car Technology
This is one of the most improving aspects of modern-day vehicles and has become quite a buzzword in the industry. Almost every manufacturer has started to bundle this technology in most of their cars. Yes, electric vehicles and self-driving cars are the future of mobility which is inevitable but as of now, Connected cars are the future of today’s world.
They open a wide array of possibilities from opening your vehicle to turning on the air conditioning and even to geofence your car so that no thief can steal it and drive away. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for both the car and driver. There are some more advanced features in connected car technology that focuses on improving the safety of the vehicle. A connected car is named the same because it is always connected to the internet.
This has been made possible with the help of an embedded chipset or SIM card through which it can access the internet. This allows the vehicle to provide internet services to the passengers by serving as a hotspot when needed. Also, of the most important features in connected cars is the OTA (Over-The-Air) feature. Through this feature, future software updates will be sent to your vehicle via updates that allow you to access other apps and services.
All manufacturers also provide their own mobile applications for both Android and iOS to connect with the vehicle as part of connected car technology. And like said before, you can do various simple functions like turning on headlights, locking/unlocking, engine start/stop, locating the car through GPS, activating climate control, and also honking the horn. Some manufacturers also bundle in pre-loaded entertainment apps like Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime along with voice assistant capabilities thanks to Amazon’s Alexa.
Remote parking is yet another feature of connected car technology that is offered only with high-end luxury cars to help you in parking your vehicle in tight parking conditions. Perfect examples for the same be General Motors OnStar connected services, FCA’s Uconnect system, and Hyundai’s BlueLink.
Which One to Go for?
Now, this is not a question that has a definitive answer. And it is also good that we do not have to pick one and compromise on the other. You are getting most functions for the money you for in either of these connected car technologies. And since most like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and even connected car technology are made as standard features, you are getting the most for your money with your car.