One of the things I am, folks, is a nerd for technology. I love all of the newest things. I love them and I frequently get them, even if I don’t mean to.
A lover of technology I am, and I reside quite squarely in the Android world. I’ve _tried_ to get into the iOS thing but… I’ve failed. I really just _like_ Android better. But… What I am not is a fangirl. Because I am not a fangirl, I had exactly no idea what Android Auto was. Nor did I know how new it was.
Very recently, I had gotten so entirely irritated with my 2006 Town & Country I decided it was time to sell it back to the dealership. I was not about to sink that much more money into the thing to repair it. But then, of course, there I was in need of a vehicle, right? I was very much after something with good fuel economy. I was going to be driving 25 miles each way to and from work, and I was tired also of 18 MPG. I had done some test drives of cars with good mileage that were the kind of car I was looking for, but I ended up going with the 2017 Hyundai Elantra.
This car, for me, gets 40 MPG highway, easy. But… That’s not what this is about. This is about Android Auto. I was told by my sales guy (who I adore, btw) something like, “It lets you see your phone’s… desktop… on your display.” <- This wasn’t exceptionally helpful, but I am good at figuring things out. Here’s what I found…
It allows me to open and initiate the audio programs on my phone… any of them… I have Google Music and Audible, which is pretty common, but I also use OverDrive for audiobooks. It lets me start them even though they weren’t previously open. This is a big deal. Other bluetooth radios in cars that I’ve used (a custom Kenwood and a stock system in a 2015 Impala) require that the audio program have been loaded and still be open in the processes (i.e. you can see it in the notifications panel) before it can be initiated, and you cannot change audio programs without a great deal of work. This is annoying. I can switch between them all, seamlessly, with Android Auto, no matter their state. There is only ONE part of this that annoys me: It won’t let you change playlists in Google Music. You have to play the last playlist you loaded or open your phone to pick a new one. You can, however, see all of the songs in the loaded playlist in Android Auto.
It works with Google Maps and Navigation. VERY VERY WELL. I love it. It is absolutely amazing. I hit the button on the steering wheel, I say the name of the place I want to go, Google returns a map entry for the place in question, I hit a button, and it tells me where to go. It got me straight to the IU Med Center in Indianapolis. It’s gotten me to restaurants, stores, and all of the things I’ve tried it with with no issues… which does speak volumes to the accuracy of Google Maps and it’s navigation features, but… But I really like the way it works with the display and the audio in the car.
When I call people from Android Auto, it’s really interesting. I shows me the picture for the contact I have in my phone. I love that. I love seeing the person I’m calling. The native Bluetooth calling in the car works well, but it’s not this fun. I really do like it.
There is only one thing I _don’t_ like… If my phone is already plugged into the USB cable when the car is started, the car doesn’t recognize the phone and I have to unplug and plug back in the phone before Android Auto will start. It is at most, a minor inconvenience, and I don’t know if it’s a quirk of the car or the program.
There it is. My personal take on Android Auto. There is so much they could do with this, but it its current state, I find it extremely useful. I look forward to where it does go in time.