Two of the biggest players in the smartphone world, Apple and Google, are taking their talents to a new location, your car’s dashboard. Apple Car Play and Google's Android Auto systems are coming to a car near you a lot sooner than you think. So what’s the deal with the latest in-car “infotainment” technology? Check out our take on the Apple CarPlay vs. Android Auto debate to find out.
Best Interface - Tie
If you know what it’s like to use an iPhone or iPad, you’ll feel instantly familiar with Apple’s CarPlay interface. Yet again, Apple has gone for a simply designed interface that is very easy to use (perfect for in the car) but sometimes lacks the functionality that you get from Android Auto.
The Android Auto interface is a bit more advanced in that you can switch from one app to another without having to return to the home screen thanks to a series of icons on the bottom of the screen. It also integrates Google Now functionality to connect your emails, driving directions, and much more. However, Google Now cards aren’t as elegant as CarPlay’s notification system and it doesn’t work as consistently either.
Best Music - CarPlay
CarPlay supports both iTunes and it’s Podcast apps natively, which leads to easy syncing of your favorite music and podcasts so you can easily rock out to your favorite tune in the car. It also supports the largest amount of third-party streaming apps (giving it the edge here), such as Spotify, Stitcher, and Audible.
Android Auto supports Google Play Music natively quite well with an easy to use music interface. It also supports a somewhat smaller selection of third-party music apps as well, however we think that CarPlay tends to be better overall.
Best Messaging - Android Auto
CarPlay keeps its messaging services very simple so that they’re very user-friendly (and car safe). Text messages and iMessages are natively integrated and can be read out through the touch of a button and responded to using Siri. However, CarPlay doesn’t support any third party messaging apps like Skype or Whatsapp at the moment, a major drawback for some.
On top of natively integrating its own text messaging service, third-party SMS messaging apps (like Google’s own Hangouts) are integrated natively so you can listen and respond to Skype or Whatsapp messages just as easily as text messages. Definitely an edge for Android Auto.
Best Maps - Android Auto
Apple Maps is the only map app that integrates with the CarPlay and Siri voice commands, which is bad news if you’re a fan of Google Maps, Waze, or any other map service. Despite this, Apple Maps gets the job done with relatively few problems.
Google also doesn’t support third-party map apps, however, it natively integrates the extremely popular Google Maps into your car’s dashboard. Google Maps is the dominant player in the map app world for good reason and it’s one of the major advantages of Android Auto
Best Phone Compatibility - Depends
While both CarPlay and Android Auto have their pros and cons, the deciding factor for most people will be what phone they already have. CarPlay only functions with the iPhone and Android Auto only functions with Android phones, although future aftermarket products will allow for any phone to be compatible. So overall, what system you choose for your dashboard will probably already be decided by what’s already in your pocket.
Whatever system you do decide to go with, make sure it gets taken care of right by taking it to the auto experts at Convoy Auto Repair who are as knowledgeable about your CarPlay system as they are about your transmission. We pride ourselves on the expertise of our certified mechanics. Come in for a complete car check up and see for yourself!
Image: Flickr via Sam Churchill