Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allow you to connect your iOS or Android smartphones, respectively, to your car’s own compatible system. This moves all of your smartphone’s functionality including calls and GPS navigation to the car’s dashboard screen and sound system. It should stop drivers from staring at their phones while driving or from having to rely on in-car displays with less functionality than a smartphone. It’s part of the car and all you need to do is connect your phone when you start driving.
In-car connectivity is something being promised by lots of major car manufacturers but the uptake has been slow. Manufacturers like BMW, Mazda, and Land Rover have announced partnerships with Apple to include their CarPlay system but have little show for their efforts. Android Auto also has support from most of the manufacturers but still isn’t a common sight in new models. The cars that do sport Apple or Google’s systems tend to be top-end models.
The support from so many companies is positive but the truth is that few drivers actually have access to the products. That could be changing now because Kia Motors are going to be the first manufacturer to offer both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in all their new models. The process starts with this year’s new models that will launch with CarPlay or Auto as standard but within 18 years every European model will offer both systems.
Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer at Kia Motors, explained the company’s decision in a press release.”In-car connectivity is increasingly important to our buyers, who are young-at-heart and often seek the latest technologies on offer. It makes a great deal of sense to offer full Android and Apple compatibility so our customers can use a wide range of smartphone functions in a safe and seamless way. Kia is integrating these technologies to let drivers maintain their concentration on the road ahead.”
The new models launching this year are the Niro hybrid crossover, the Optima plug-in hybrid, and the Sportswagon. The Niro and Optima arrive in the 3rd quarter of the year and will launch with Android Auto as an option. The Sportswagon arrives in the 4th quarter of the year and will be the first model to offer both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto at launch. By then Apple CarPlay will also be available for the Niro and Optima. In 18 months you should be able to buy any new Kia and choose between either CarPlay or Auto.
This is the type of support Apple and Google had been hoping for. Other manufacturers talk about connectivity being important in the future and tend to limit the systems to the highest price points. Kia Motors are the first manufacturer to take the next step and start providing both systems at all price points, meaning more people are going to start seeing the systems in action. Hopefully the other manufacturers follow suit as it will make roads safer and we’re big fans of in-car tech and gadgets.
All images © Kia Motors