Hyundai Launches Android

The interfaces for most automotive infotainment systems are, well, to put it nicely, something that, if they were on the screen of your smartphone, you would find to be so unacceptable that you’d find yourself wanting to take said smartphone and throwing it at the nearest available wall.

The interfaces for most automotive infotainment systems are, well, to put it nicely, something that, if they were on the screen of your smartphone, you would find to be so unacceptable that you’d find yourself wanting to take said smartphone and throwing it at the nearest available wall.

Which is why Hyundai deserves great credit for launching Android Auto on its 2015 Sonata with Navigation vehicle.

The company announced yesterday that existing vehicles—as in those people have already purchased, not just those at dealerships—qualify for a free Android Auto software update at Hyundai dealerships.

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Explaining the rationale behind the deployment of the new tech, Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, said, “Android Auto aligns with Hyundai’s core interior design principles of safety, intuitiveness and simplicity.”

And with Hyundai’s general approach of offering things that are generally associated with high-end vehicles in its mass-market cars, like the Sonata.

Android Auto is based on running Android 5.0 Lollipop (or higher) on their smartphone. For the first use, the driver connects the phone to the Sonata’s USB port with a cable, and the phone then prompts the download of the Android Auto companion app from the Google Play store. That pretty much sets the whole thing up.

Subsequently, voice, steering wheel controls or the touch screen can be used for applications ranging from Google Maps to phone calls. And yes, there is an array of third-party apps, like Spotify, Stitcher, Skype, etc.

Hyundai plans to roll out Android Auto on other vehicle lines in the months ahead.

Zuchowski: “We launched this highly anticipated feature on our best-selling Sonata, adding to our promise of value. With the launch of Android Auto, we provide more owners with the experience of cutting-edge technology.”

And they offer those owners with a whole lot less frustration in trying to use their infotainment systems.