ANDROID AUTO (AND A LITTLE CARPLAY) WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?

TRADITIONALLY IT’S BEEN THE CASE THAT CAR MANUFACTURERS MAKE GREAT CARS, BUT USUALLY TERRIBLE RADIOS, WHICH EXPLAINS WHY OEM AUDIO HAS A BUSINESS.

Once satellite navigation, parking cameras, more complex music players, podcasts, Spotify and applications and other in-depth Menu Systems started appearing in cars the motor manufacturers lacklustre design began to show.

Consumers have traditionally put up with this for years often using a smartphone attached to the windshield and using that instead. There are safety issues and convenience factors obviously with that solution.

Then, quite coincidentally, some would say both Google and Apple both saw an opportunity.

The massive increase in smartphone processing  power as we all know matched with high-quality touchscreens – meant that that the tech giants could take over vehicle system for themselves

Now you could be cynical about both Apple and Google trying to hold people into their own ecosphere, but that is a debate for another time.

How does Android Auto work?

Generally speaking, Android Auto runs via your Android smartphone connected to the car with a USB cable. Android Auto then essentially takes over the cars audio display unit. This completely replaces the cars and system and allows the driver to use some of the safer phone apps through the car connection.

Android Auto can be used with the cars existing buttons, dials and any other switchgear. Android Auto can be used by the touchscreen and by issuing voice commands to the Google assistant.

This runs on your phone but takes over the car's microphone and speakers.

Because your phone is connected by USB its battery will be charged whilst Android Auto is being used. It’s a lot better than your battery being drained whilst using Google Maps or Waze

I hear you ask about wireless Android Auto,  that is a feature that has not yet been activated by Google. It may in the future, but you will need to buy a wireless charger.

To get started with Android Auto you’ll need to download it from then Google play store this is free.  Unlike Apple CarPlay the app does not come pre-installed on mobile phones As well as tapping on the screen or navigating around Android Auto with your car's touchscreen, you can summon the Google assistant and speak to it in the same way you do at home with your smart speaker.  This means you can ask it random general knowledge questions or have Google read out the weather forecast and perhaps even the day’s news headlines

Also recent are some Google assistant shortcuts,  tap one of the icons,  weather for example and the system will read out the local forecast. Google reckons it is working on letting users create your own assistant shortcuts in the future

At OEM audio we can fit Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to most of our devices, we genuinely think this is the most convenient way to connect positively the in-car experience to your own  personal requirements.

Which smartphones can work with Android Auto?

If you want to run Android Auto on one of the OEM AUDIO BTN units, you will need to be running Android version 5.0 Lollipop or newer, although for best performance Google recommend using a device with Android 6.0 marshmallow and above

Once you have downloaded the Android Auto app just plug your phone into the OEM AUDIO unit USB port and it will then automatically launch

You will find that not every USB port works with Android Auto,  this is also the case with Apple CarPlay. If in doubt consult your instruction manual  or call OEM AUDIO

See videos about smartphone integration and more on our YouTube channel