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The Integrated Road: Android Auto.

Technology can move at a blinding pace, bewilderingly so at times. A person born in late 1903 will have been there when the (allegedly) first powered flight by mankind took place at Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, in the US. Just under 66 years later they would have seen mankind walk upon the moon for the first time and just 12 years later, the beginning of the space shuttle era.

Science fiction postulated the use of mobile communication devices, most notably in the legendary tv series, Star Trek. Motorola pioneered the use of flip phones, exactly like the communicators shown, then, in 1987, the new series showed the crew using touch style badges for communication, as well as media devices suspiciously like the tablets that are commonplace today.

As seems to be the nature of business, there’s two competing brands, Apple and Microsoft. Enter a third option, in the form of the operating system known as Android. Backed by technological giant, Google, Android’s forte is being flexible, tweakable, customisable. Companies such as Samsung, LG and Sony utilise the base platform in their smartphones, themselves a device seemingly around for ever yet have been in the light for less than a decade. Now the automotive industry looks to take on the system, alongside Apple’s version called CarPlay, in a further effort to integrate technology, real and useable technology we use at home and at the office, into our cars.Android Auto

Android Auto uses both touch screen and voice activation, starting with an app that’s downloaded to a car’s built in navigation and entertainment system. A smart phone with Android is then connected. The catch is this, at the moment: it needs to be the Android 5.0 OS in order for the system to work. But if you’re familiar with Android then the Android Auto will fall to hand just as easily in usage.android_cars

Of note is the change in navigation; the setup uses Google Maps and integrates voice activated controls and direction requests. There may also be lane guidance, traffic updates and more. Then there’s the music app, allowing streaming of music, access to your own music library and music from Google Play Music.

The voice activation service has been reported as almost flawless; users have said that the system is quick, responds to almost every word spoken without issue and provides a safer level of control by using vocal rather than touchscreen inputs.

Holden already has plans to provide the service as does Hyundai. Apple also has their version, Apple Play, waiting in the wings, however at the time of writing it’s unclear as to what that service will deliver.
For further information on the basics and an idea of just how many car brands world wide plan to integrate Android Auto, click here: http://www.android.com/auto/

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