We had heard from Toyota that they weren't planning on adding Android Auto or Apple CarPlay support to their infotainment systems in the near future, and this latest press release from Toyota backs that up. Instead they are using Telenav's Scout GPS and UIEngine Link for their infotainment.
"We're pleased to add Scout GPS Link to Toyota's connected vehicle platform," said Sandy Lobenstein, Vice President for Connected Vehicle Technology and Product Planning at Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. "This partnership with Telenav allows us to provide a unique search and navigation experience that our drivers can access wherever they go."
So that pretty much sums that up. No Android Auto for at least the 2016 model year Toyota models. Which is unfortunate, but we pretty much knew this was coming. While this is sad news for Android users, we do already have a number of options out there including Hyundai, Buick Honda, Chevy, GMC, Cadillac and Volkswagen. With many more to come. However, Toyota is not part of the Open Automotive Alliance, so again this isn't a huge surprise. Telenav's Scout GPS is said to be Toyota's alternative to Android Auto. It likely won't be the best alternative, but this is Toyota's alternative for now.
Android Auto is still very beta and early, so there's still a possibility that Toyota could move to support Android Auto in the future once the platform has matured a bit. Which has actually turned off a few users from buying a head unit from Pioneer or JVC Kenwood. Toyota's biggest competitor, Volkswagen announced yesterday that they would be supporting Android Auto on many of their 2016 models. As well as Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink. In fact, they already have Android Auto in the 2016 Golf-R which is rolling off the assembly lines as we write this article.
If you've ever used Android Auto, you'd find it tough to go back to not having it. It's great for navigation, music, receiving and making calls. It's just a great all around infotainment system compared to the car makers infotainment systems, its much better. Hopefully Toyota gets that message soon.