Android Auto Versus Apple CarPlay In Tech Demo, Google Did it Better

Android Auto versus Apple CarPlay 1 photo
Photo: screenshot from Youtube
The infotainment revolution is happening, with Google and Apple having found a neat solution to the old, expensive, low-res infotainment systems we have now on most cars. Things are quite simple, ditch whatever the automaker is offering and use your phone instead, which is always up to date, has your music, navigation, messaging and comes with a simple interface that you’re already accustomed with.
Still, holding and buttoning your phone while driving is dangerous and in many cases illegal, so what Google and Apple did was to create a mirroring interface between your handheld device and the car’s actual infotainment screen.

This way, some basic functions from your phone will be usable right from the in-dash screen, in a simple to use interface also available with voice command, so you can concentrate on the road ahead more than swiping through complex menus.

We recently showed you a preview of the upcoming Android Auto system from Google and now it’s time to pit it against its rival a bit, the Apple CarPlay, as Kelley Blue Book managed to get a brief demonstration of both systems.

Both tests have been done a 2015 Hyundai Sonata so we can eliminate the hardware parameter out of the equation. Not that the systems really need much processing power from the central console units, since most of the processes are performed by the phones themselves.

Both the Android Auto and CarPlay look very easy to connect and use; just plug it in using a USB cable and the phones will automatically switch to car mode. Their screens will also turn off or display a logo in order to discourage the old habit of maneuvering it while driving.

The systems come with similar basic functions like phone, messages, navigation, music streaming from both local and online sources, internet radio and voice control, which appears to work quite well in both cases.

Android Auto simply looks and feels better for today's trends

Moving on to the interfaces themselves, similarities start to disappear. We should mention that both variants are being run from the newest operating systems, namely Android 5.0 Lollipop and iOS 8 running on flagship smartphones.

From what you’ll see in the video bellow, Android Auto seems a bit better than what Apple offers. It looks crispier, more fluid, flat and pleasant to the eye. It also relies on the Google Now feature on your phone to work, so whatever you’ve been searching or doing on your phone recently, the car mode version will know about it. Things like scheduled flights or some locations you’ve been looking at will still be found in the Android Auto interface.

On the other hand, Apple went with a similarly simple to use interface, wearing a dull black background, colorful icons and tabs. Still, it doesn’t look as cool and smooth as the Android does. It’s skipping some frames, has a bit of latency and looks a bit rough around the edges.

Apple must have rushed things a bit to show off its in-car connectivity before Google and you can tell that. CarPlay somehow reminds us of an older iPod. We have tested the latest iPhone 6 running iOS 8.1.1 and we can say the experience isn’t the same you get on the car’s touchscreen.

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