Android Auto slowly getting off the ground

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Get ready, because Android Auto is starting to get off the ground. Photo Credit: Dsimic/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA 3.0

Get ready, because Android Auto is starting to get off the ground. Photo Credit: Dsimic/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA 3.0

Since “infotainment” consoles became a thing, tech giants are getting into cars, such as Google’s Android Auto, a version of the Android OS for cars. This begs the question if my car will also crash if someone sends me an MMS, despite how much I paid for the damn thing and was assured it was cutting edge tech.

Update available for Android Auto

Android Auto, for those unaware, is an operating system for car “infotainment” systems – you know, those big touchscreen consoles that let you fiddle with the radio, bring up navigation that will direct you into a ditch and turn off the A/C.

There is no official word on whether you can program it to find the nearest person who talks a lot about smartphones…and run him over. (Because those guys are ANNOYING.)

Currently a number of car makers offer infotainment centers running a version of Apple’s mobile OS. Just like Apple, Android Auto will pair with your smartphone. That way you can use Bluetooth to make calls, sync up your music library and so forth.

There’s a rumor that Microsoft is working on an auto OS, but they keep getting a message after starting the car saying “Your Car Has Stopped Working.” A similar rumor is that Mozilla tried as well, but the car plugin would crash every time they turned the key.

Currently, Android Auto available on a very small number of cars but will become more widely available in the near future.

You have died of dysentery

Currently, Android Auto is available aftermarket, through Pioneer. (Get the dysentery reference now?) It’s currently limited to only one line of Pioneer products, according to CNET, the NEX series of receivers.

There are three models, the AVIC-8100NEX, AVIC-7100NEX and AVH-4100NEX.They aren’t exactly cheap, either; the 4100NEX is the bargain model, with a $700 MSRP. Pioneer’s navigation app is not available, but is on the 7100 and 8100, which list for $1,200 and $1,400, respectively.

Pioneer is an open relationship with developers, as Google is just their latest fling. They also offer AppleCarPlay in the NEX line. Kenwood will be next, as that company’s DDX9902S deck is also slated to get Android Auto.

The app requires a smartphone that runs Lollipop, also known as Android 5.0, or later. To pair, you install the Android Auto app to your phone, according to PC World, plug it into the deck via the auxilliary cord and link the deck to your phone. However, unlike AppleCarPlay, the app disables other functions on the phone, so you can focus on driving.

You don’t need to be taking a selfie behind the wheel anyway, dummy.

Appearing at a dealership near you

When Google initially announced Android Auto, they had assembled a large roster of car makers as partners. A few are starting to deliver. According to Jalopnik, it’s already available through Hyundai as a dealership after-purchase upgrade, though only for the 2015 Sonata. Mitsubishi is working on an Android Auto system called the FlexConnect, but it’s being developed by the company’s electric car division, so expect to see it in the MiEV before the next EVO. (If there ever IS one.)

Europeans can get it as an option in the Honda Civic. However, there is one car maker that currently has a Google OS in all it’s models and you could conceivably go buy one right now from a dealership, but it’s Maclaren.

That said, expect to see it in the next few years, along with Apple CarPlay.

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