CES takeaway: Android Auto

by: Jonathan FeistJanuary 10, 2015
Android Auto Feature-4

The 2015 experience of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is wrapping up, and it was a pretty great event. We had a good portion of our team on the ground for the week, bringing you all the best that CES 2015 had to offer. With so much to discover and experience, we had to break apart our round-up of the show into several parts.

Before we dive into our Android Auto coverage, I just wanted to thank you, our readers, for joining us on this adventure. We had a ton of fun, and we hope you did too.

android auto first look (18 of 18)

Last June, Google officially introduced a number of new products and services at their Google I/O conference, most of which centered around the Android operating system. On that list was a streamlined version of the OS called Android Auto. Designed specifically to operate in the dashboard of your next car, 40 auto makers signed on to bring this system to life into 2015 and beyond

As it so happens, auto makers were a major vendor at CES, and as you can imagine, Android Auto was a major driving force behind smart and connected cars at the show.


One of the first names to come to our attention was Hyundai. Hyundai took Android Auto to a level that we perhaps always dreamed of, but didn’t think would hit this early in the game. With the name Blue Link, and in cooperation with Viper car alarms and starters, Hyundai has not only built Android Auto into their car, but went ahead and built an Android Wear app to go with it. We took the time to talk about Hyundai and Blue Link a few times, which you can see in short in the video below.

This might be a good time to mention that Hyundai’s Android Auto implementation, as with most others, is not currently the core of the software running. As you saw in the Hyundai hands-on video over here, Android Auto is an application within the Hyundai software. This is to be expected, as you still want your car entertainment and navigation systems to work, even if you leave your phone at home.


Playing fair to Android and iOS users alike, Volkswagen came to the show with their promise of Android Auto and CarPlay support for upcoming cars. Sadly, the only vehicle specifically named was the Golf, but we expect most of their lineup will see the update in coming years. Volkswagen’s new system will also feature something called MirrorLink, which will allow for direct integration with HTC, LG, Samsung and Sony Android phones.

volkswagon -668x468

Best of all, Volkswagen is also working on Android apps so that you can lock and unlock doors or check on your battery level from the comfort of your living room.

Aside from the Android Auto highlights of the show, CES 2015 had a good number of other auto makers on board as well, we saw innovations for everything from infotainment systems through to self driving cars. A few of the major names to make headlines were BMW with their accident avoidance tech and GM, or Chevrolet depending on how you look at it, with their new Volt electric car. Players like Dodge, Mercedes and Tesla were also on hand, but as cool as their stuff was, it just didn’t make it onto our ‘Android radar’ as much as the rest, at least not this time.

Another player that made us stop and look twice, was Ford. Ford has long been a leader in connected car technology, at least in the ‘cars under $50,000’ segment. I won’t spoil anything, but we took a good look at their tech over here.


As an added bonus, we caught wind of a new smartwatch built by LG at the show. At first we were a little perplexed, and you are probably wondering why we’re talking about it in an Android Auto article. I go further off course by mentioning that said smartwatch was found to be running WebOS, but the thing is, this smartwatch was commissioned by Audi.

Audi LG watch WebOS

We are eagerly looking forward to learning more about this watch, particularly how well it integrates with Android, as it has been called the rich and beautiful sibling to the LG G Watch R. More than this, we can’t wait to see how (if) it integrates with Android Auto in the car.

The idea of purchasing a new car equipped with Android Auto is very exciting, but what if a new car is not in your immediate future? No worries, a handful of common car audio manufacturers were at CES showing off their new Android Auto wears. In general, we’re looking at stereo head units built with Android Auto, and we suspect something will appeal to you with players like Kenwood, Panasonic and Pioneer in the game.

But that’s not all, a brand that you may not have heard of has made a bit of a splash as wall, Parrot announced their new RNB6. RNB6 offers up a 7-inch touch panel to users, with a few dedicated physical buttons on the side for good measure. Running a base layer of Android Auto software, enhancements have been added to support CarPlay and the device can even hook to your car’s OBDII connector, to bring in live metrics of your drive, such as fuel level and consumption and so much more.

Parrot RNB6 Android Auto head unit

One last thing, did we mention that the Parrot RNB6 also packs a dash camera, and support for a rear camera? That’s right, Parrot may have build the best aftermarket Android Auto head unit around, so far.

Until next year

CES 2015

With CES 2015 under our belts, it’s time to look forward to what comes next. As far as Android Auto is concerned, the best is yet to come. We’ve all seen Android Auto in the news, watched the videos, read the articles, but the real fun starts now. We are very much looking forward to 2015 and all that it brings to the road.

Before you run away, be sure to check out our other CES takeaway experiences, including:

CES takeaway: Android TV (Coming soon)
CES takeaway: Smartphones and Tablets
CES takeaway: Wearables

What was your favorite Android Auto news out of CES 2015?

  • MasterMuffin

    I don’t remember the list of all the Android Auto partners, but does it mean that if VW is in it, all those it owns are in the list too?

    • Anonymousfella

      Most likely. I doubt anyone would not buy a Lambo if it didn’t ship with Android Auto! :P

      • Chris

        We’ve been with out android auto for years and we’ve done fine

        • MasterMuffin

          Sarcasm is hard

    • Chris

      why would VW own everything here? that makes zero sense

      • MasterMuffin

        Chris hasn’t had his evening nap again

        • Chris

          Says the kid who posted something that mad no sense

          • MasterMuffin

            Instead of being a grumpy biatch, maybe you should, I don’t know, learn to read and stop commenting if you have nothing good to say?

  • Badouken

    This better be included in my car once I buy one mid 2015!!!

    • Chris

      it wont and you will get over it. you buy the car to drive, not a fancy in dash infotainment system

      • Badouken

        Im sure you buy your smartphones to only make phone calls as well… nothing else… nothing else allowed! No soup for you!

        • Chris

          Why buy a var if you only want android auto? You must be some young kid.

  • Be-Bound

    Android Auto is no doubt the connected car “OS” to watch, above all when we see the creativity car manufacturer’s put into it, using all connected devices to be connecetd to our cars. Our cars will react, we will interact and all together we will slowly but surely change the way we drive. As long as we get an internet connection.

  • Be-Bound

    Android Auto is no doubt the connected car “OS” to watch. To boot, when we see the creativity of the car manufacturers linking it to all our connected devices, we can easily all the breakthroughs that are still to come in this area.

  • Question: is voice and hardware buttons the only way to provide input when in Android Auto mode? Cos I doubt Android’s voice recognition would be able to understand foreign road Bangkok names and POIs. That would make it extremely limiting for anyone not in an English speaking country. Can we still key in using a virtual keyboard on our phones or are we blocked from it as soon as we plug in?