It has been nearly a year since Google announced Android Auto, and it's still available almost nowhere. No car companies have built the technology into their 2015 vehicles (though some may get a software update with support later), and only a handful of aftermarket head units have the software. So what's the deal?
We all know the perils of using a cell phone while driving. At best it's difficult and at worst it is incredibly dangerous. Still, sometimes we need to perform simple actions on our devices when behind the wheel. This basic problem has driven the development of Android Auto and various company-specific software and hardware to smooth things out.
Have you ever looked at your low-tech car audio system and wished your head unit could just be as smart as the phone in your pocket? Or maybe you have one of those fancy infotainment systems whose software tends to make the HTC G1 look futuristic by comparison. Well, an automaker finally decided to acknowledge that it's easier to use the hardware that the customer already has than build something newer and more expensive that won't do any better.
Car insurance isn't something you buy because you want to. I mean sure, I'd buy it even if I didn't have to, but I do have to, and so does basically everyone else in the US who wants to drive a car. Regardless, comparing insurance isn't particularly easy, especially if you don't know what you're looking for.
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.
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.
Parrot usually arrives at CES with a swarm of consumer-oriented drone aircraft, but this year it's also showing off the RNB6. What is the RNB6? It's an in-dash head unit running its own version of Android 5.0, but it also has support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
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.