In March, Apple announced the launch of CarPlay. Last week, Google announced Android Auto.
They are very much alike, but which one is for you?
Both CarPlay and Android are designed with driving safety in mind. Both programs claim to achieve this through a minimalist approach.
The developers blog for Android Auto says it’s “glanceable and simple” and has “natural Integration”.
CarPlay’s website suggests that its software will be seamless “with your car’s controls — knobs, buttons, or touchscreen… your eyes and hands stay where they belong.”
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have both been designed for ease of integration, allowing your smartphone to simply send its respective data to a vehicle display through a cable, which your car will then display.
Both programs will use voice-recognition software. CarPlay with programs such as Siri and Apple Maps. Google using equivalents, such as Google Search and Google Maps.
Honestly, besides the fact that Android Auto uses a USB cable for data transfer, and CarPlay a much faster Thunderbolt cable, what we have here are two very similar products.
What will make a difference is which car companies support which product.
Initially, Android Auto will have over 40 Open Automotive Alliance members supporting it. The list can be found here.
CarPlay currently has 29 car manufacturing partners, including the recent additions of Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Audi, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Mazda and Ram.
Some companies will offer support for both.
Another difference might lie in the fact that Android has always been much friendlier toward developers than Apple. Google has already announced the launch of the Android Auto SDK platform for developers.
Both companies have suggested their software will start showing up in some cars later this year. Broad support is expected when the 2016 models roll out next year.
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