Consumers have gone absolutely bonkers over Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both of which allow for lower-distraction ways to bring phones into cars. Automakers have responded by adding these capabilities to their cars in a hurry, with a few notable exceptions. But that list of exceptions might shrink in the near future.
Toyota will soon support Android Auto, Bloomberg reports, citing a person familiar with the matter. The source did not appear to give Bloomberg a timeline for this addition, but the source estimated that an announcement could come as soon as October. Representatives for Toyota did not immediately return Roadshow’s request for comment, and the automaker only told Bloomberg that “direct connection is something the company is considering.”
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto serve to bring the experience of the phone onto the dashboard in an attempt to reduce distraction. They both provide stripped-down user interfaces that allow access to a small handful of on-phone apps, typically centered on navigation, messaging, audio streaming and calls.
Android Auto takes it a step further by, to help reduce distraction for drivers who don’t have new cars. Apple CarPlay recently opened its sandbox a bit, for the first time.
According to Bloomberg, Toyota hasn’t yet added Android Auto because of “safety and security concerns,” something we also heard at the launch event for the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback. Other notable Android Auto holdouts include BMW and Porsche, and neither appears as ready to relent as Toyota is.
There are still several questions left unanswered. Why did Toyota finally relent? Will CarPlay-equipped Toyota vehicles be able to add Android Auto after the fact, or will it only appear on a future iteration of Toyota’s infotainment system? Did Google make any concessions to help reach this point? We’ll probably have to wait until Toyota gives a straight answer for some or all of these metaphorical hanging chads to get counted.
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: New to Android Auto? Here’s our how-to guide.