If you are someone who is already used to using the Android Auto system in your car, you are well aware that the vast majority of in-house car infotainment screens are not nearly as useful. Android Auto is designed to fully integrate with your car’s infotainment screen which enables you to use all of your favorite apps directly on the screen.
As such, Android Auto carries lots of benefits such as convenience and the ability to use the same system between different cars. You can use all your favorite apps for navigation, music, and communication which are always a lot better than the ones offered with the car from the factory.
On the other hand, Android Auto can be distracting for some users. The system can also be a bit of a faff to use if you don’t have the wireless integration option. If your phone is not of the best quality, chances are that your Android Auto system experience is also likely going to be substandard.
Either way, Android Auto is certainly a worthwhile system for those who love the ability to rely on their phones for all the aforementioned reasons. Even though you can use your phone similarly only with Bluetooth and a phone stand, Android Auto is a level above.
Benefits of Android Auto
The whole point of Android Auto is to declutter your overall user experience while driving which means that only the most important information is being shown at any moment. This means that you will not have to go through several menus and submenus to interact with the functionality you need.
Android Auto is designed to make your overall driving experience safer by utilizing steering wheel controls, sophisticated voice controls, and large controls which means that you will spend more time looking at the road. Android Auto also utilizes countless different music streaming apps like Spotify, Audible, Pandora, Songza, TuneIn, and so on.
Android Auto is not just a skin over your car’s infotainment system yet rather a more comprehensive utilization of all of your car’s sensors and inputs which means that Android Auto is able to adapt to your driving style, the time of day, and what you are using it for.
Google Maps is by far the most widely used navigation app in the world and Android Auto enables you to use it right on your central screen or even in your dashboard if you own a newer car.
Drawbacks of Android Auto
Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay have come a long way since their initial release which means that they are now as best as they can be, at least as far as Google and Apple are concerned. Automakers are still fond of developing their own systems and they would rather keep it that way because they view AA and ACP as stiff competition.
This means that automakers are not keen on perfecting the integration levels between different cars as some come with wireless capabilities while others offer non-optimized integrations only by wire. Furthermore, these systems tend to completely take over your infotainment screen which means that you will not be able to use them together.
If you own a car that incorporates functions such as climate control into the infotainment screen it means that you will have to perform a 5-step process just to change the A/C temperature. This can be so annoying that people tend to never use AA or ACP for these reasons.
Finally, you can get a fairly similar experience with your smartphone, a phone mount, and Bluetooth as most of these functions are able to recognize in-car use even if not used through AA.
OEM infotainment systems vs Android Auto
The current trends in the automotive industry consist out of wider use of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and out of incorporating as many functions in the infotainment screen as possible. This means you often need to switch between these two systems in order to control certain car functions.
Automakers are aware of that and they don’t view it as a problem because they want us to use their own infotainment screens anyway. Tesla makes infotainment screens that double as the tachometer and the odometer which means that you will not even be able to enjoy a full-screen AA or ACP with these types of systems.
Even though modern-day in-car infotainment systems have come a long way since their inception, they are still lagging behind modern smartphone technologies because a newer version is being developed for 2-4 years at a time while a new-gen smartphone comes out every year.
Is it worth it to get Android Auto?
It is worth it to buy Android Auto if you are already using the system because you use an Android device as your daily smartphone. Furthermore, it makes sense to opt for Android Auto if you own or use multiple cars because that enables you to use the same system in multiple cars.
However, it is true that you can get most of the functions done directly using your smartphone, Bluetooth, and a phone mount. The levels of ease and safety are not the same but if you are well aware of what you are doing the end result should very much be the same.
Why don’t all cars come with Android Auto from the factory?
There are two ways how a specific feature can be added to a car as part of standard equipment. The first way to do it is if the automaker decides to do it and they tend to do so if the feature in question is crucial to the overall driving experience a manufacturer wants to offer.
The second method of how a specific feature becomes part of standard equipment is if the government mandates it that way. For example, the US government made it so that every new car sold in the US needs to come with a backup camera as standard.
How safe is Android Auto?
Android Auto is indeed safer than using your smartphone in any way. However, it all depends on the user and how concentrated he/she is on the surroundings. Even though these systems are designed to be as safe as possible, you should never rely on them.
As such, always be sure to follow all the traffic rules in order to be safe and never use your phone directly while behind the wheel.