Ours is a connected world. Smartphones, smart watches, laptops, tablets – these devices allows us to tow our world around with us and access our tons of music, photos and videos.
This convenience of technology is rapidly spilling over to our cars too. No longer are vehicles buyers happy with plain-vanilla infotainment systems that only play music or video or, at best, help make phone calls. They now look for the tech-enabled convenience of their smartphones in their four-wheelers.
So, more and more auto makers are serving up technologies such as Apple Car Play, Android Auto, Mirror Link and Sync (Ford’s proprietary connectivity system) in their vehicles.
These systems go beyond dishing out just Bluetooth connectivity for phone calls. They give you assistants to sort your music, browse the net, take dictation to answer messages, offer turn-by-turn navigation and provide live traffic data.
For these systems to work, they need to be synced with a compatible smartphone, that’s connected through a USB cable. They use the phone’s data connection to bring you real-time information.
But which of these systems works best? Check out our comparison of Android Auto and Apple Car Play to find out.
These days, buying a car does not just entail looking at its specs. You need to also consider the connectivity and infotainment options it serves up. There are several cars that now come with these connectivity options in tow.
The cheapest one to give you some sort of connectivity is the Tata Tiago, available for about Rs 4.5 lakh. It has a proprietary system called Connect Next, which lets you pair a smartphone and get turn-by-turn guidance with live traffic data, as well as make and receive phone calls.
A jukebox app that comes with the system allows up to 10 users to pair their phones to the system and play music on long drives.
However, if you want a richer connected experience, go for cars that offer Apple Car Play and Android Auto. The Maruti Ignis, Hyundai Xcent and Maruti Baleno are a few of the offerings under Rs 7 lakh that come with it.
With Android Auto, you get Google Maps with live traffic info, estimated travel times, calendar reminders, route planning, a voice message system, the ability to live stream music and a lot more.
Here’s a list of some popular cars that offer Android Auto in India:
These cars also feature Apple Car Play, which gives you a much smoother interface that looks very familiar to Apple users. The biggest pitfall though is that Apple Maps doesn’t work yet in India, which is a pity. That’s where Android Auto scores big time.
Some manufacturers like Mahindra, for instance, have included only Android Auto in their infotainment systems. Mahindra just updated the XUV500 with Android Auto and will soon offer it in the Scorpio as well. Honda gives you an Android-based infotainment system, but not Android Auto or Apple Car Play.
Skoda and Volkswagen cars, as well as some Maruti models, also come with Mirror Link, which is yet another connectivity option, but this one requires smartphone users to download a specific set of Mirror Link compatible apps.
Mirror Link, as the name suggests, then basically mirrors your phone’s screen on the car’s infotainment screen, allowing you to use some of the apps on the go.