By: Bob Kernen
In case you missed our announcement earlier this summer, jacapps is now offering our apps with integration into Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto. As a company that lives down the hall from the connected car leaders at Jacobs Media, this has been a great tech adventure for us. Now that our first app, for WMMR – Philadelphia, is out in the connected car wild, I took the opportunity to go out and use these two systems in a variety of cars to really experience this new technology.
If you don’t know much about these systems are let me take a moment to explain. Connected cars on the market today have an 8-inch screen that is the car’s “control panel.” Each manufacturer has developed their own software system and user interface for these, and their quality and usability varies wildly. Because of the lack of standardization, both Apple and Google created their own software “layer” that allows the car’s native system to be overridden by an extension of your smartphone’s operating system. Apple’s is known as CarPlay and is rolling out in over 30 different manufacturers. Google’s is Android Auto and is rolling out in more than 50 brands.
If your car’s in-dash system supports one or both of these, you can bring your phone into the car and “connect,” accessing certain functions of your phone on the car’s touchscreen. Once connected you can make calls, access text messages and audio content – including our radio station apps. It’s a terrific concept: your phone truly “synced” to your car.
I tried out the two systems in over a half-dozen cars. Doing this was a little tricky since while most manufacturers have begun rolling out CarPlay and Android Auto support, it isn’t in every model, and even then not in every trim line. Typically, you have to have the top-end in-car navigation and entertainment system to get CarPlay or Android Auto.
When I did find the right model with these systems, I have to admit, it’s a real game changer – for both good and not-so-good. By bringing your phone directly to the car they succeed in making your car an extension of your iPhone or Android. The media, messaging, and mapping choices (the three M’s) in your phone are there in your car too. The connection is smooth and easy – practically seamless. The downside is that interacting with other features of your car, like the temperature control, and the radio can get a little more complicated.
But, if you’re someone who drives different cars from time to time, having the same in-dash experience no matter which vehicle you’re driving is fantastic. It’s easy to imagine how great this will be when most rental cars have CarPlay or Android Auto. No matter what car you drive, just hop in, connect, and you’re good to go.
As the smartphone becomes the essential Swiss Army Knife of modern life it’s inevitable that we will want other technology systems in our life to integrate easily and intuitively with our phone (the label “phone” seems woefully insufficient). So the car is here now, and reports from both Apple and Google indicate that your house is next as both companies are busy creating operating systems for that environment.
If you want to discuss how this mobile revolution is affecting, and will affect, your business now and in the future, give us a call at 248-353-9030, or email us at email@example.com.