Hyundai announced yesterday that it's deploying Android Auto in its 2015 Sonata with Navigation, making it the first car manufacturer to integrate Android Auto into its vehicles.
While the Hyundai Sonata with Navigation is the first model from the company to ship with Android Auto, according to a press release from Hyundai, the company plans to release the technology in other models in the future. Those looking to purchase a new Sonata will need to upgrade to the navigation package in order to receive the Android Auto capabilities.
Android Auto catches up to Apple CarPlay
Apple CarPlay has been available on the 2015 Sonata since last November, but Android Auto now allows non-iOS users to enjoy the benefits of hands-free smartphone integration on the road. You can access the Android operating system through the navigation display. It will integrate with standard Android apps such as messaging, phone calls, Google Play Music, Google Maps and more.
The service also integrates Google Now cards, Google Voice, Bluetooth, automated user preferences such as music and destinations, and an easy-to-use interface. Google Now cards will feature scheduled appointments, common directions, weather information, preferred destinations and more. Many of these applications can be controlled via buttons on the steering wheel, voice commands, as well as through the navigation touchscreen display on the 2015 Sonata. Third-party apps are also supported -- a short list includes iHeartRadio, Spotify, TuneIn, NPR, Skype, TextMe, and Stitcher.
In addition to the technological features of Android Auto, the service also offers hands-free capabilities through the car's touch screen interface. Hyundai says it hopes that this will increase safety for drivers and passengers by limiting the instances of distracted driving.
Going a step further, phones will be locked when in the car, because you can access all the necessary features on your smartphone through the car's navigation system.
Drivers who have already purchased a 2015 Hyundai Sonata with Navigation can get a free software update from dealerships as of yesterday. If you don't want to rush to a dealership, an upgrade will be available via a USB download later this summer. After you download the update, it will automatically start the upgrade when connected to the car's USB port. The download will require a MyHyundai registration, VIN and address in order to authenticate the user. First-time users will need to sync their device using a mini USB cable, but after the initial set up, the smartphone will automatically connect to the car via Bluetooth, according to Hyundai.
In order to use Android Auto, you need to have a smartphone running Android 5.0 Lollipop or later as well as the Android Auto companion app. Hyundai customers will need to purchase at least the sport trim, which starts at $23,175, and then add on the tech package for an additional $1,750; Android Auto comes included with the navigation package.