Android Auto works off the drivers’ own Android device.
As cars become more and more high-tech, automakers are competing to entice drivers with new features and convenience measures. Following Audi’s recent concept demonstration of its in-car Android integration at the Google I/O event, Ford has announced its own Android-based opportunity that will hopefully please current Sync 3 users.
Own Android device
Ford drivers already have choices for infotainment features, Android Auto and CarPlay. While CarPlay is definitely a vehicle-focused version of an infotainment system – and offers options for iPhone users – Android Auto works off the driver’s own Android device. That means the console screen is a lot more like the driver’s own phone rather than a pre-determined set of apps or features.
Upgrade exisiting cars
The really newsworthy part of this announcement is something that Ford is catching on to what other tech companies are sitting up and taking notice of. Rather than offer this feature on new vehicles, the company is rolling out this upgrade for existing on-the-road vehicles, a move that can encourage drivers to stick with Ford as a brand loyalty decision down the road.
Owners of more than 800,000 2016 model Ford vehicles can upgrade via WiFi or USB, although depending on the vehicle and the system, some existing Sync 3 drivers may have to go to the dealership and pay a fee to have the USB hub upgraded.
According to some drivers who’ve already upgraded, there were some minor obstacles, including having to have the car running for the WiFi-version of the upgrade to take place and having to use a large enough USB thumb drive to download the update from Ford’s website and install it themselves. Finally, as a reminder to Android Auto users, the phone must be connected via the vehicle’s USB port for the feature to work as streaming isn’t an option at this time.