Mitsubishi to bring smartphone integration to Australia in 2015 with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Carmakers have been improving infotainment units almost month by month, and now the next logical step is here.
UPDATE: we have now tested this system in a 2016 Pajero.
Mitsubishi will update the Pajero later on this year for 2016, and it will have SDA, or Smartphone Display Audio for Android and Apple. You connect your smartphone via a USB cable and then a version of your smartphone’s screen is displayed on the car’s touchscreen, customised for in-car use both by user interface design and what is shown when. You will be able to access navigation, make phonecalls, listen to music or send/receive text message. Mitusbishi say there is then no need to update the navigation system maps, just use your smartphone.
Here’s the feature list according to Mitsubishi, with our comment in italics:
Android Auto automatically brings you useful information and organises it into simple cards that appear just when they’re needed.
Let Google Maps lead the way. It’s easy to get where you’re going with free voice-guided navigation, live traffic information, lane guidance and more. You already get this from Google Maps without integration.
Your favourite tunes – to go! Access and stream over 30 million songs, customised playlists and more with Google Play Music. You can run Spotify and stream it via Bluetooth Audio. The audio controls will change tracks for you.
Just say the word – Best in class speech technology makes controlling everything with your voice fast and easy. Not everything. Not “everything”. Voice control is only reliable enough for auxiliary applications. Most cars have voice control standard these days anyway.
Hit the road with your favourite apps. Android Auto makes it easy to access your favourite apps and contents in your car. This is new. Most current system are a bit clumsy in this respect.
Apple CarPlay takes the iPhone features you’d want to access while driving and puts them on the vehicle’s display in a smart, simple manner. You can get directions, make calls, send and receive messages, and listen to music, all in a way that allows you to stay focused on the road.
Complete with turn-by-turn directions, traffic conditions and estimated travel time. Can also predict where the user is most likely to want to go using addresses from their email, text messages, contacts and calendar. Same comments as above.
Make calls, return missed calls and listen to voicemail. Siri helps do all these things. Already available in most cars via Bluetooth integration.
Siri can take dictation, read aloud, send and reply to the driver’s text messages for them. Already available in most cars via Bluetooth integration. Well, at least the reading part.
Access your artists, songs, playlists and third party audio apps using your car’s built-in controls. Or just tell Siri what you’d like to listen to. Already available in most cars via Bluetooth integration.
Here’s a couple of generic images of CarPlay.
There is no question that smartphone/car integration is the way to go. We already own powerful mini-computers, so why not put them to work in the car, or conversely, why duplicate functions. CarPlay and Android Auto appear to be identical in concept, and if Windows or BlackBerry don’t come up with equivalents that’s just another nail in their respective coffins.
While most of the features are available via a Bluetooth-connected smartphone, the difference here is that:
- you look at, and control the smartphone via the car’s own screen and physical or voice controls.
- the information displayed is tailored to a car environment
- the user interface is less cluttered
- the car’s touchscreen is bigger than the smartphone
- there could be integration with the car itself (not apparent from the information above) such as fuel use that could be displayed to the driver
Overall, this new tech should makes a driver’s life much easier and safer.