5 reasons why Android Auto is better than CarPlay – Android Police

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5 reasons why Android Auto is better than CarPlay – Android Police

Summary

  • Google Maps reigns supreme when it comes to geographic data and navigation accuracy, making it the top choice for Android Auto users.
  • Google Assistant outperforms Siri with its efficient language processing and support for third-party apps, improving the Android Auto experience.
  • Android Auto offers more useful notifications and better support for third-party apps compared to CarPlay, making it a strong contender in the automotive sector.



Apple may have abandoned its electric car plans, but the company remains a major player in the automotive sector. Look at any recent vehicle listing or review, and one of the first, and most consistent, things you’ll see mentioned is whether or not it supports CarPlay. Google’s Android Auto platform is also in the mix, but that often seems like an afterthought, seemingly seen as inferior to Apple’s offering – and that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, for many drivers, Android Auto might just be the better option.


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1 Google Maps is simply better

Alphabet’s trusty browser is still king of the road

android-auto-maps-mirror

This particular reason shouldn’t require too much explanation. Google launched its mapping software as early as 2005, and Apple Maps was not made public until 7 years later, in 2012. There is obviously much more parity between the two today than there was 10 years ago, but I don’t do it. I don’t think anyone would disagree that Google still holds a sizable lead in this department. Not only is Google Maps available on more platforms, including Apple’s CarPlay, but it also has a wider range of features and provides more accurate and reliable navigation data.


Obviously accuracy and reliability can be subjective depending on your location, but objectively, Google Maps simply has more geographic data to use. Google was almost a decade ahead of Apple in collecting map data, as well as all of its search engine/business data, and all of the advertising/tracking data it extracts from users. This helps Google Maps excel in areas like calculating route times and providing real-time traffic information (for roads or restaurants), and it’s not hard to see why. Having native mapping software works in favor of Android Auto.

2 Google Assistant takes Siri tricks

Apple’s commitment to privacy keeps its Assistant in the dark

The Google Pixel 8 showing Google Assistant enabled.

Google Assistant on the Pixel 8


Unlike Maps, Apple actually had a head start in the digital assistant space, launching Siri in 2011 – five years before Google Assistant was released – but its commitment to user privacy, its early stumbles in cloud computing and its lack of commitment to improvements have really stifled its development. Again, I don’t think many users would disagree that when it comes to Siri versus Google Assistant, the latter is objectively better thanks to its more precise and efficient language processing and better Better support for third-party apps.


Broader support for third-party apps can make a huge difference in a moving vehicle, where most of your interactions with the system are via voice commands. The same can be said for the AI ​​functionality built into Google Assistant, which can do things like summarize longer text messages for you, so you can spend less time listening to (or worse, reading) messages and more time to concentrate on the road. . The bottom line here is that if you’re judging which one has the best and most capable voice assistant, you have to hand it over to Android Auto.

3 Notifications are more useful

I want to be able to read my texts (when it is safe)

Someone using Android Auto in a car at CES 2023

This one can be considered a win or a loss for Apple, depending on how you feel about distracted driving. The CarPlay experience is very simplified and aims to distract the driver’s attention as little as possible. Everything is handled through Siri, including reading and writing text messages, and you don’t get any interactive notifications of any kind that would let you tap for quick actions like phone calls or messages.


Kudos to Apple for thinking about security first, but you could certainly make the argument that being able to quickly glance at a text message, or tap a message alert for a quick reply or phone call, could in actually be safer than fumbling with a voice assistant – especially since we’ve already established that Siri doesn’t win any awards for accuracy or efficiency. Again, while it’s easy to argue that this is a point in Apple’s favor, and not Google’s, for the overall usefulness of notifications, Android Auto is the clear winner.

4 Better support for third-party apps

Whoever has the most apps controls the dashboard

Screenshot of the Sygic app in Android Auto

Source: Sygic


Just like with Google Assistant, Android Auto as a whole benefits from (much) better support for third-party apps. I haven’t been able to find exact current numbers to really show the contrast, and the App Store and Google Play Store are terrible at rounding them up for you, but my understanding is that Android Auto supports several thousand third-party applications. , and CarPlay app support is still well below the thousand mark.

This is obviously subject to change at any time, and issues around app support really vary depending on your individual needs, but on a macro level, if you have a more specialized or obscure app that you’d like to use in your car, the chances are simply better that Auto will take care of it. And it doesn’t even have to be an obscure app: Facebook Messenger works just fine with Android Auto and still isn’t supported by CarPlay. I hope your group chats are happening in another app, because you won’t find it here.


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A car dashboard showing Android Auto on screen

One of my favorite little features about CarPlay is that it tells you the current speed limit of the road you’re on while you’re driving. This is ideal for when you’re on a long road trip or traveling in an unfamiliar area, and you feel like you’re going faster than everyone else, and there’s no warning sign. speed limit in sight. A quick glance at your screen and you can adjust your speed accordingly. But of course, Android Auto goes even further by showing you how fast you’re going and it can even alert you when you’re speeding.


There are a few asterisks here. For one, this feature is not permanently available on Auto. You have to navigate somewhere, either in split-screen mode or in a third-party app like Waze, and features may vary depending on your phone’s Android version and car model. It’s also worth noting that while CarPlay can’t currently do this, this is one of the features rumored to debut in the next iteration of the platform, later this year . All that being said, we still score a “W” for Android Auto.

Does this mean Android Auto is the best automotive platform?

A vehicle's infotainment screen


It really depends on the user. This may sound like a cliché or a cop-out, but it’s really the only right answer here. Android Auto and CarPlay are close enough in functionality and experience that I don’t think either is worth switching mobile ecosystems. The real takeaway is that while one could certainly argue that Apple is winning the marketing and mindshare game in this area, Android Auto is clearly the better system in at least a few key areas. And if you and some friends are planning a road trip this summer, you might want to put the Android user in charge of the in-car navigation.

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