What’s New in Car Entertainment

You can use that dashboard screen in the following ways.


Over the last ten years, car infotainment has seen significant transformation. Large touchscreens that can stream music have replaced hard buttons and CD players. Amazon, Apple, and Google have all entered the fray. Here’s a cheat sheet to help you understand the differences between the various systems.


Native Interfaces of Automakers


The operating system and hardware (such as the touchpad, controller knob, and center screen) that the automaker specifically created for your car are referred to as the “native interface.” While some have names (Ford owners use Sync, Jeep and Ram owners use Uconnect), many don’t.


Ford Edge 2021 with Ford SYNC® 4A.


Every model has its own peculiarities and layout, and user-friendliness plays a big role in whether or not a buyer is satisfied (or not, as many Lexus owners will attest). This is mostly due to the fact that automakers incorporate a lot of features into their infotainment systems.


Owners can choose from a variety of vehicle settings (such as lighting and door locking), make calls, pick a radio station, get GPS direction, keep an eye on the condition of the car, and frequently regulate the temperature within the cabin using that main screen.


You may search for destinations using built-in navigation systems without a smartphone thanks to external mapping services like Tomtom, Mapbox, or Garmin. However, the maps are frequently only as up to date as the most recent updates made to your car. Thankfully, automakers are keeping up with the times and are beginning to add cloud-connected navigation systems that work similarly to your phone to deliver real-time traffic and route updates.


A lot of OEM infotainment systems provide some degree of customisable functionality. Apps for podcasts and popular music, for example, are frequently added by users. Additionally, the majority provide the subscription-based satellite radio provider SiriusXM. You may use it to listen to more than 150 stations that offer a variety of ad-free content, such as podcasts, talk radio, sports broadcasts, music, traffic, and news updates. You can listen to a station from anywhere in the United States since its signal reaches the car from space rather than a terrestrial tower. Manufacturers frequently provide new car customers with a complimentary trial of SXM for a set period of time, typically three months.


Android Vehicle


A piece of software called Android Auto allows you to project or reflect some phone apps onto your dashboard. This prevents drivers from tinkering with or looking down at their electronics while operating a vehicle. From the car’s touchscreen, they can make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages, use their preferred navigation software, and stream music (or use voice commands). The driver has to have an Android handset running 8.0 (Oreo) or later in order to utilize it.


To enable Android Auto, you may need to connect your phone to a designated USB connection on your car’s entertainment system. However, more sophisticated infotainment systems are capable of managing the wireless connection.


Apple CarPlay


An iPhone user’s version of Android Auto is called Apple CarPlay.


For many, if not most, consumers, CarPlay and its Android equivalent have become essential features, so it’s a little surprising that GM recently decided to discontinue the technology in upcoming EVs. A representative for the business stated to Reuters, “We don’t want to design these features in a way that are dependent on a person having a cellphone. We have a lot of new driver-assistance features coming that are more tightly coupled with navigation.” GM will offer native access to Google Maps and a few other apps, but customers are not buying into it.


Built-In Alexa


If Alexa is built-in to your car and you have an Amazon account, you may ask the virtual assistant to change the temperature inside the car, play a certain song from your preferred streaming service, add an appointment to your calendar, provide directions, and modify the stereo’s level. It’s more of a voice-activated assistant that can be accessed through an app on the manufacturer’s original interface than an infotainment system.


Built-In Google


Automakers are increasingly permitting Google to install its software in their vehicles. In contrast to Android Auto, a Google product, Google Built-In operates independently of your phone. Because it’s integrated, your dash display’s home screen will have buttons for Google Assistant, Google Maps, and Google Play. For example, Google Assistant carries out your voice instructions and listens to them, much as Alexa Built-In.

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