Certain 2015 Volkswagen cars with come equipped with Android Auto and CarPlay (Apple) support starting later this year. The option will be available in any models that come with MiB II, the second generation of the manufacturer's "modular infotainment platform," though the Golf is the only vehicle explicitly mentioned in the announcement. MirrorLink support will also come included.
Since the launch of Android 5.0 last month, the sheer number of app updates has been magnificent – and downright overwhelming. Believe it or not, most of the new versions haven't done much more than add Lollipop support and splash a fresh coat of Materialized paint on the UIs. Seriously, we've been checking. This isn't entirely a bad thing, as it's giving me time to work on some other projects...
Google is keeping a tight grip on Android as it expands the operating system out to watches, TVs, and automobiles. To understand this, take a look at the existing Wear watches on the market. Aside from shape and specs, the software experience is the same across devices. This may change in the future. A Google executive has told Re/code that the company plans to loosen its restrictions over time.
Though Google officially announced Android Auto back at Google I/O, we didn't get to see much of the car initiative at the show itself. A recent update to the Developer.Android.com page shows off a lot more of the system, primarily in how the usual Android apps on a phone interact with a dash unit in a car or truck. The updated page includes screenshots of the app launcher (such as it is), Google Play Music, and some basic menus.
Yesterday, Android Police was in San Jose checking out some nifty things at NVIDIA's 2013 GPU Technology Conference. At one of the events, the Tegra team showed off a few prototypes of automotive dashboards they're hoping to put into cars of the future.
The HMI (Human Machine Interaction)toolkit NVIDIA is developing, called UI Composer, is universal in the sense that it can run on top of Android, Linux, Windows RT, and probably other operating systems.
Some call Tasker the most versatile application ever created for Android, and I'm inclined to side with them. The app can automate hundreds of actions and bundle them together in powerful scripts that do exactly what you want them to do (see our Tasker review). Want to silence your phone at night and then restore the ringer to a predefined volume in the morning? No problem. How about popping up a menu of music apps when you plug in your headphones?
If your Android device relies on your interaction with it in order to do things, you're seriously missing out. There are several options that allow you to cut the cord, so to speak. The popular options have long been Locale and Tasker but, as you can see from their market pages, you have to be fiscally dedicated to the tasks they perform. In addition to that, these applications (Tasker especially) can be somewhat (read extremely) intimidating in the level of control they give you and the sheer volume of options at your disposal.
I'm not really sure how we missed this app when it was released way back in July, because it's damn cool. A company called Directed Electronics produces an automotive remote start kit that's called Viper SmartStart, and the kicker: it's controlled via smartphones. The app was available on iOS and BlackBerry for some time before being released for Android in July, and it's some pretty neat kit - check out the video (sorry, it won't embed because it's unlisted).
Walking around CES Unveiled on the first day of CES 2011, I ran into a little company called Mavizon Tech, showcasing their product with a beautiful name Mavia. I you've never heard of Mavizon, don't feel bad - they don't have many consumer-facing products just yet, but it's all about to change when Mavia hits the market later this year.
What is Mavia? It's a little gizmo box that plugs into your car's diagnostics port and sits there, drawing the power from the aforementioned port.
Last night at the CES Unveiled preview event, I got a chance to see a new product made by Parrot, called Asteroid.
Asteroid is a voice-activated, Android-powered car deck that replaces your existing single DIN car stereo. It has a small non-touch 3.2" color screen, runs on a specialized version of Android (the presenter didn't seem to know which Android version it was based on exactly), is capable of running custom Android apps (SDK for which is coming out later), and can accept a variety of inputs, such as your iPhone, iPod, USB storage, SD card (the left half detaches to reveal the SD slot), Bluetooth, 3.5mm jack, 3G and GPS dongles, and AM/FM/RDS.