The ranks of Android Auto in-dash head units continue to grow at CES, but they aren't going to be cheap. While Parrot neglected to mention a price for its fancy new Android deck, Pioneer is coming right out with it. The new NEX series units will start at $700 with support for Android Auto and CarPlay.
Seeing which manufacturers will bake Android Auto into their latest models is cool and all, but I'm looking to see which third-party options start appearing on store shelves. After all, I bought my vehicle in 2013, and I'm not looking to replace it in the next couple of years. Fortunately Kenwood has come to CES with one that supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the DDX9902S.
Out of the box, Kenwood's unit has a tacky interface that perhaps only a car enthusiast could love.
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.
Google hasn't had much to say about Android Auto since it previewed the platform back at I/O in June. Now there's some movement as we wait on Android Auto to show up in vehicles. The Google Developers blog has posted an introduction to Android Auto and announced that the final APIs are ready for developers to get to work.
Gameloft's latest game, Cars: Fast As Lightning, is targeted towards kids, and it has all the makings of a good movie tie-in experience. The visuals are sharp and capture the feel of the films. The voice overs are convincing, the characters are well animated, and the dialogue might elicit a giggle or two.
Since Fast As Lightning is based on Cars, as you would expect, it's a racing title. And since this is game, there are controls, but they couldn't be more basic.
Auto insurance is a thing, and OBD-II diagnostic plugs are also a thing. Metromile brings these two things together in a marvelous fusion of data and pragmatism. With the new Android app, you can get diagnostic data out of your car and take advantage of Metromile's insurance rates based on how much you drive.
Lyft is a great alternative in between taxis and public transit, but the somewhat egalitarian nature of the service means you don't always know what to expect. Recently Lyft rolled out its Lyft Plus premium service in San Francisco. Lyft Plus still relies on independent drivers, but they've been sold special white Ford Explorers customized by Lyft to meet a higher standard than you'll usually see in normal Lift vehicles.
Lyft Plus Explorers seat up to six passengers in leather seats, making them a pretty good choice if you've got a handful of people that need to go somewhere and you'd rather not cram into someone's Civic.
When it comes to soccer games for Android, there is no shortage of options. There's soccer for FIFA fans, soccer for strategic types who'd rather not get their shoes dirty, real soccer, and (of course) soccer for zombies. Now we have a game for people who want to play from the air-conditioned comfort of their rally cars, Soccer Rally 2.
Soccer Rally 2 combines soccer with top-down racing, only there's little racing to be found here.