Huawei Announces New Car Tech That Puts Android Auto and CarPlay to Shame

Huawei's new HiCar-compatible head unit 4 photos
Photo: Huawei
Huawei's HiCar head unitHuawei's HiCar head unitHuawei's HiCar head unit
Huawei is working hard to build a world without Google and convince customers to give it a try considering the problems the company is struggling to deal with in the United States and other countries. Its latest event provided us with an early look at its most recent efforts in this regard.
One of the most ambitious projects concerns the driving experience, which Huawei is betting big on with a smart platform called HiCar.

Seen by many as a more advanced alternative to CarPlay and Android Auto, HiCar allows drivers to connect their Huawei phones to a car and then use a series of applications, such as navigation tools and music players, on the head unit.

Huawei, however, seems to be ready to take things to the next level. And the company has just announced a dedicated smart screen to be used with HiCar, and which can be installed in pretty much any vehicle out there.

The new unit features an 8.9-inch touch-capable screen with a brightness of up to 700 nits and a resolution of 1920x720 pixels. It comes with a dedicated coating to block reflections, which we all know how important it is when driving, and can be adjusted easily thanks to an integrated mechanism that allows it to adapt to any dashboard design.

But the pièce de resistance is the camera system that comes built-in. That’s right, the head unit comes with pop-up cameras – the front-facing one allows for video calls (most likely when parked), while the rear unit doubles as a dashcam to record what’s happening on the road.

Of course, it also supports a set of other gimmicks that Huawei is pushing hard on in the car, such as air gestures, voice commands, and Bluetooth connectivity, and even playing games.

Huawei says it’s already working with carmakers to bring this head unit to more models out there, and it hopes to install it in over 5 million cars by the end of the next year.

That sounds pretty ambitious, but given it costs approximately $250, it’s certainly one affordable way to bring HiCar to more models out there, eventually dethroning CarPlay and Android Auto in the automotive industry.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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