Looking for Android Auto on a budget? While I still recommend the Volkswagen Jetta, there's going to be an even wallet-friendlier four-door sedan with Auto on the block soon. The Jetta, with delivery, rings up around $21,000 all in for the least expensive model with Android Auto, but the new Hyundai Elantra will set you back ten fewer Benjamins, at around $20,000 with delivery ($19,785 to be precise).
The 2017 Elantra goes on sale in the next couple of months in the US - before spring rolls around - and Android Auto is a mere $800 upgrade on the base SE (automatic) trim, which nets you the aforementioned Auto, plus Apple CarPlay, a rearview camera, automatic headlights, 16" alloys, steering wheel media controls, cruise control, Bluetooth, heated outboard mirrors, and a hood insulator, which is apparently something some car manufacturers aren't including on every single car in 2016? Read More
Pioneer announced Android Auto head units at last year's CES, and it's following up with updated model names for 2016. You could think of this line as the 200 series, as each unit has jumped from 100 to 200.
The new units are the AVH-4200NEX ($700.00), AVIC-7200NEX ($1,200), and the AVIC-8200NEX ($1,400). Read More
Ford is showing off the current state of its Android Auto implementation at CES, which will roll out to current and future Sync 3-equipped cars later this year. In many ways, it matches that of other auto makers where Android Auto is sort of like an app inside of their own custom interface. However, a representative at Ford's booth explained that Sync 3 has been optimized to stay out of the way when Android Auto is running by hiding its own redundant systems like the built-in navigation and phone apps. Many other in-car systems tend to prefer their own navigation and dialer if they are opened from within the custom interfaces, but Ford will automatically launch Google Maps and Auto's own dialer, regardless of which interface you're looking at. Read More
Android Auto is probably the most expensive form of Android you're considering paying for, and the options aren't nearly as diverse as they are with phones. You either have to buy the latest model from a car maker that offers support, or you upgrade your stereo. On the positive side, more manufacturers are jumping on board. Fiat Chrysler will show off Android Auto support at this year's CES. Read More
Google's Android Auto system is gaining a bit of steam, but you still need to hunt for a manufacturer and model that support it (assuming you're buying a new car and not just upgrading your stereo). That will be a little easier later this year: in the lead-up to CES, American manufacturing giant Ford has announced that its semi-proprietary SYNC system will soon support Android Auto. Specifically, those cars that are currently on the road and use SYNC version 3 will be upgraded with Android Auto capability, and 2017 SYNC-equipped models should have Android Auto support built in.
Android Auto support will come along with a host of other upgrades, including simultaneous support for Apple's competing CarPlay standard. Read More
Google faces many interesting challenges with Android Auto. It seems like a simple task to build an interface that is less messy and more enjoyable than existing in-car systems. Given the low bar set by most existing platforms, this doesn't sound very difficult. However, Google is taking advantage of more advanced technology and clever design so Auto isn't just another small iterative step forward. A teardown of the latest update shows some interesting progress on new input methods that don't require as much attention and a parking assistant feature that remembers where you left your vehicle.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (application packages) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
A fresh update of Google Play Services is headed out to our Android hardware around the world. This brings the framework package up to v8.4 and actually carries a couple of user-facing changes for us to check out. There's nothing too big, which is pretty normal for a Play services update, but there are some nice visual touch-ups for Smart Lock and a new option in the Android Auto developer options. But that's not all, a teardown shows that we're getting much closer to family organization (yes, for family sharing) and app invites will finally become useful as they can finally be sent to the people that need them most – the people right next to us. Read More
The Honda Accord may not be a car you’re terribly familiar with if you don’t reside in North America. You may also not realize just how popular it is here. While Honda sells the Accord abroad (and also a modified Chinese-built version called the Crider in Southeast Asia), nowhere has the Accord been more successful than the US of A. This is because when the Accord was introduced for the American market in the early 1980s as an affordable, reliable, American-built Japanese sedan, it was at a time when domestically-designed and produced American sedans were, well, pretty universally... terrible.
The Accord was not terrible. Read More
The Android Auto companion app is generally one of those things you're probably only going to work with a couple of times before you're done setting things up, then it'll stay tucked away, never to be seen again. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't look good and be as useful as possible. An update to the Android Auto app began rolling out today and it's a near total refresh of the user interface. Granted, there's not a lot to change, but it now looks much more like the companion app for Android Wear. Read More
The Volkswagen Jetta is, admittedly, the occasional butt of car enthusiast jokes. Long considered a slightly snobby small economy sedan because of its comparatively high price of entry and less-than-great reliability reviews, the car didn't sell amazingly well here in the states for quite some time. Five years ago, VW tried to turn that sales situation around, completely redesigning the Jetta and drastically reducing the cost of many of its constituent parts - the result was the Mk.VI Jetta, and sales did go up quite noticeably.
But the car was compromised, and reviewers generally weren’t fans. Cost-cuts included things like fitting an unrefined rear beam-axle suspension system on most models, ditching optional leather trims, saddling the base car with a gutless 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder engine, and conducting most of the design and assembly in Mexico instead of Germany. Read More