The Latest Android Auto Updates Make CarPlay Look Ridiculous

Apple’s CarPlay has long been considered the more reliable and stable alternative to Android Auto, pretty much because iPhone owners typically encountered fewer problems when connecting their smartphones to the head units inside the cabin.
Apple CarPlay dashboard 6 photos
Photo: Apple
Google Maps on Android AutoThe Android Auto home screenAndroid Automotive in Polestar 2Google Maps on Android Automotive in Polestar 2Android Automotive in Polestar 2
And without a doubt, this was true at so many levels, especially as every Android Auto update was more or less a Russian roulette. While for some people they came with major improvements, others ended up struggling even with the little things like playing music or using a voice command to set up a new destination in Google Maps.

Times have changed, though, and now CarPlay not only is no longer more reliable than Android Auto, but Google’s application is also getting more and more improvements at an impressive pace.

In other words, Google has managed to turn Android Auto into the preferred choice for more drivers out there, and while there’s no data regarding CarPlay adoption, the investments made by the Mountain View-based search giant on the car experience front are clearly paying off.

Google itself claims there are over 100 million cars out there using Android Auto wirelessly, and the numbers only concern vehicles coming with such capabilities from the factory. In reality, the actual figures are much higher, as many of the aftermarket head unit upgrades come with support for wireless connectivity as well.

Most recently, however, Google has been making a really good case for using Android Auto, all using nothing more than new features developed based on user feedback.

Google Maps on Android Auto
Photo: Google
One of them is support for dual SIM, which means users will soon be able to choose what SIM they want to use when making a phone call from Android Auto. This has long been one of the top feature requests, and it’s pretty clear Google has received the message and responded in the best possible way.

At the same time, Google is also working on many other Android Auto improvements, including a new notification center, more settings to let users configure what apps run on startup, and even games that make short stops a lot more convenient, such as waiting to pick up the kids from school.

So clearly, Android Auto is evolving, but the bad news for Apple users is that CarPlay doesn’t necessarily seem to be going in the right direction.

The debut of iOS 15 has caused a major struggle for many CarPlay users, as the app ended up crashing when trying to play music. Others complain of connectivity issues experienced after installing the latest update, no matter the iPhone model.

The Android Auto home screen
Photo: Google
So, in other words, CarPlay has become the old Android Auto, and this isn’t happening in a good way. Moreover, Android Auto is becoming a lot more advanced, and all these updates show that Google is a lot more committed to the car experience these days.

CarPlay, on the other hand, is barely getting any improvements, and iOS 15 didn’t bring any important goodies on this front. There’s only one notable change in iOS 15 for CarPlay users, namely the 3D navigation bundled with Apple Maps, though this feature is only available for iPhone users right now.

So at the end of the day, it looks like Android Auto is heading in the right direction, and this can only be good news for the continuously increasing community that has long been asking for even basic improvements from Google.

In the long term, the battle between Android Auto and CarPlay is something that’s clearly worth keeping an eye on, and hopefully, the iPhone maker will also decide to become more committed to the car experience, especially as it’s working on its very own EV.

For now, however, hats off to Google for this unexpected Android Auto overhaul.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

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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