In the last 6 weeks or so, we’ve heard from a number of car makers on their plans for integrating Android Auto into their cars. We had already heard from a few of GM’s brands like Chevrolet and Cadillac who are planning to rollout Android Auto after Apple’s CarPlay gets integrated into their 2016 models. Now GMC and Buick have both announced that Android Auto will be coming to their 2016 models as well. As GMC owners probably know, there is a 7-inch and an 8-inch screen model for the Sierra, according to the post from GMC, it’ll be on the 7-inch display in 2016, with availability coming to the 8-inch model later in 2016. Per GMC:
“GMC IntelliLink is taking another step forward with this simple and intuitive functionality that makes phones and vehicles work better together,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of GMC Sales and Marketing. “Like other GMC features, from OnStar 4G LTE connectivity and active safety features, it’s technology designed to enhance the driving experience without intruding on it.”
We’ve been using Android Auto on our Pioneer head unit for a few months now, and it’s definitely still an early product. But having the system baked into the car does make a bit of difference, as you have steering wheel controls, and somewhere to actually plug in your phone (in my car, the Pioneer head unit has the micro USB cable coming out of the glove box). For Android Auto, you will need a smartphone that is running on Android 5.0 Lollipop or higher. Most Lollipop devices should now be compatible, thanks to a recent Google Play services update.
We are seeing more and more Android Auto apps coming to the Play Store now with more and more functionality. Although, we are still mostly stuck with just Audio and messaging apps. There’s still no way to use another mapping app like Nokia’s HERE Maps on Android Auto. That may or may not change. But you can use apps like Spotify, Google Play Music, Pocket Casts, TuneIn Radio and much more! It’s definitely an exciting time for infotainment systems.