Wednesday, September 30, 2015
General Motors announced the 2016 Opel Astra (Europe) at the Frankfurt International Motor Show last week. The updated version of the vehicle is loaded with plenty of latest tech features. The biggest inclusion for me is the option of getting Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
But the new Opel Astra will only be available in Europe. Or will it? According to a report on Car and Driver, the new Astra, or variants of it, may come to the United States as Buicks.
By AppRadioWorld at 9:00 AM
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Google has released an update to its Android Auto app. Version 1.3.089821 has added interface improvements and a few bug fixes.
Here are some more details and screenshots of the home screen in the latest version...
By AppRadioWorld at 6:25 PM
The Frankfurt International Motor Show concluded on September 27 and there is loads of information coming out of the event for the European market. There was a lot of attention given to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay at the event, and understandably car manufacturers didn't disappoint.
Opel announced the 2016 Astra with advanced smartphone connectivity at the event. Here are some more details and high-resolution images...
Monday, September 28, 2015
It has been long reported that Apple's upcoming electric car codenamed Project Titan, is scheduled to be completed by the year 2020. There has been loads of rumored information on Titan in the recent few weeks ranging from a possible test site to Apple's hiring of car engineers.
And now, the Wall Street Journal, is reporting that Apple could be done with Titan by 2019, a full year ahead of the projected date.
The 2016 Honda Accord features minor upgrades when you look at it from the outside. But the real tweaks are included in the car's dashboard which now features both, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The Accord is the company's first vehicle to offer both softwares. The upcoming 2016 Honda Civic will also offer Android Auto and CarPlay.
Sunday, September 27, 2015
If you own an iPhone 6 and are thinking about upgrading to the newer iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, you may have read mixed opinions about doing so. Are the new iPhones really worth the upgrade from an iPhone 6?
Most of the early reviews have raved about Apple's newest feature - 3D Touch, which is available only on the newer iPhones. And I have to be honest, it is very convenient. It takes a little getting used to though but once you've tried it out a few times, it grows on you.
For the car tech enthusiasts out there who are wondering if the iPhone 6s has any differences in CarPlay over the iPhone 6, I may have some answers for you. My preordered iPhone 6s 128GB Space Gray arrived yesterday and I was eager to test it out and compare it to the iPhone 6 in CarPlay.
Friday, September 25, 2015
AT&T has announced it is raising the data cap limit for its grandfathered unlimited data customers. The news comes after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fined the network carrier $100 million for misleading customers with the promise of unlimited data.
According to the FCC, the company mislabeled its plans as being unlimited and did not inform customers of the maximum speeds they would be getting. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a lawsuit against AT&T and is seeking a refund for affected customers running into millions of dollars.
In a press release, AT&T says unlimited data subscribers will be able to enjoy full speeds on their 4G/LTE network until they hit the new 22GB usage mark. But unlike before, reaching this mark will not necessarily mean their speeds will be throttled thereafter.
September 25 is here, which means Apple's brand new iPhones have begun reaching customers in the United States and around the world this morning. Apple announced the new devices at their Fall Media Event on September 9. Preorders began September 12.
Those customers who set their alarms for 12:01 AM on September 12 and managed to preorder a new iPhone minutes after, will get their devices delivered to their doorsteps today. Additionally, you can head over to your nearest Apple Retail Store and buy a new phone there too. But it is quite possible you'll be faced with long lines and diminished supplies.
By AppRadioWorld at 4:00 AM
If you've been on the fence about getting an Amazon Prime subscription, this might help. The company has announced a steep discount of 33% for one day only - Today!
The announcement comes after Amazon's Emmy wins for its original series, "Transparent." Following the television awards ceremony last weekend where Transparent won five Emmy awards, the company said it will allow new Prime customers to sign up for the service for only $67 (normally costs $99) for a year. The deal is available for new customers only.
By AppRadioWorld at 12:01 AM
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Volkswagen (VW) chief Martin Winterkorn has resigned amidst a growing scandal over falsified emissions tests. The company also owns Audi and Porsche making it the largest carmaker in the world. VW just recently overtook Toyota to achieve that mark, almost three years ahead of its target.
Winterkorn announced his resignation on Wednesday.
By AppRadioWorld at 4:40 PM
After Apple, it's Google's turn to announce new smartphones. The tech giant has set September 29 as the date it will take the stage in San Francisco where they are expected to announce two new phones: Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P.
Here's a roundup of current rumors surrounding the event.
By AppRadioWorld at 4:05 PM
Samsung is at it again! Through years of back-and-forths with Apple in legal battles over copyrights, the South Korean manufacturer wants to take on the car entertainment industry with a product of its own. Even though it looks a lot like CarPlay, Samsung believes its 'Car Mode for Galaxy' will become the 'next big thing' in car dashboards.
Car Mode for Galaxy was showcased quite extensively by Samsung at IFA 2015 earlier this month. The event is sort of the European version of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and was held in Berlin, Germany. Here are some more details on Samsung's product...
As expected, car manufacturers have begun incorporating the two hottest in-car infotainment softwares in their vehicles - Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The latest automaker is Honda, which announced that its upcoming 2016 Civic models will offer both options to customers.
Here are more details from that press release from Honda...
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
If you've updated your iPhone to iOS 9 recently, then you may have noticed the few subtle improvements Apple has made in CarPlay. Better Siri functionality, a new Siri splash screen, the newer iOS 9 font etc. are just a few of those improvements.
But with all new things come a few bugs, and I stumbled into one such display bug in CarPlay recently. At first, I thought it was just a one-off occurrence but when the issue recurred, I did some research on it. I connected my iPhone to another head unit and the bug was present there too.
The worst part is there is only one confirmed fix for the issue right now but it's not a permanent fix.
If you use a Pioneer AppRadio Mode-capable head unit, you will be aware of the screen resizing issue that has plagued the interface for quite some time now. The issue refers to the screen resolution resizing to a smaller size and leaving dead space around all edges.
You can imagine using AppRadio Mode on a smaller 6.2-inch display head unit like the AppRadio 4. Screen resizing seems like an iOS issue (does not happen on Android), and when Apple released iOS 9 last week, I was curious to know if it had been fixed. But I can tell you it hasn't been.
Take a look at these pictures showing what screen resizing looks like in iOS 9...
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Back towards the end of last year, I posted about the intense glare problem with glass screens on car head units like the Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120). Bright, sunny days can be your worst enemy if you use a capacitive touchscreen device in your dashboard.
The reason for posting that article was to give users a relatively cheap option to reduce glare on the head unit. The solution was a do-it-yourself anti-glare screen protector, which I cut to perfection to specifically fit the AppRadio 4.
That post has been one of the most popular on this site and several readers have written to me about their experience with the project. In case you missed that post, here is more information and how the screen protector is holding up, 9 months later.
Monday, September 21, 2015
Pioneer has released an update to the iOS version of its AppRadio app this morning. The latest version 8.9 includes fixes for iOS 8.4 and iOS 9.
There are a couple of fixes included in the update. The most important one being getting rid of the annoying app launch pop-up alerts which had made AppRadio Mode nearly unusable in iOS 9. Take a look below for full details on whether Pioneer has managed to completely fix the issue.
By AppRadioWorld at 2:19 PM
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are the two hottest commodities in the car entertainment business at the moment. There are quite a few options available to get the software in the car you already own. Aftermarket head units are available from the likes of Pioneer and Kenwood.
Currently available aftermarket head units range from $500 to $1000, give or take, but all of them are limited to a 7-inch touchscreen or lower. OEM systems in select vehicles are also generally around that size. But what if you wanted a larger touchscreen, say 8 inches, and full-fledged Android functionality?
You may be in luck. But there's a big catch! And there are pictures and a video too.
Just last week, you may have seen a Volkswagen advertisement running on most major television networks which showed Apple CarPlay being used by Hollywood actors, Michael Pena and Adam Scott. Well, the two are back again along with Christopher Mintz-Plasse ('McLovin' of Superbad fame) and this week it's their turn to show off Android Auto.
Watch the ad below, which ran multiple times during NFL games on Sunday...
By AppRadioWorld at 7:00 AM
Sunday, September 20, 2015
Pop-ups, pop-ups and more pop-ups. Pioneer AppRadio Mode users are definitely familiar with pop-ups by now. Those annoying little alerts have the ability to make your AppRadio Mode experience a living nightmare.
Most pop-up alerts were done away with in iOS 8 and partly by Pioneer adding a few new improvements to its AppRadio app. But with iOS 9 being released just a few days ago, a variety of pop-ups and issues, both old and new, have cropped up again.
With iOS 9 bringing new challenges to AppRadio Mode, the interface is as good as unusable at the moment. I gave it a try and this is what I found...
By AppRadioWorld at 12:30 PM
Saturday, September 19, 2015
Kenwood USA has announced two new double-DIN multimedia receivers which will expand their repertoire of Apple CarPlay supported head units. Unlike the existing offerings, the new DDX6902S and DDX6702S will offer on Apple CarPlay and not Android Auto. These devices are tailored for iPhone users.
More juicy details including availability, features, price, and a comparison to currently available head units from other manufacturers are below the break.
By AppRadioWorld at 7:43 PM
ABC News has just added Android Auto compatibility to its Android app making it the latest to join the long list of third-party applications. Through the app you will now be able to stream ABC News Radio in your car through the Android Auto interface.
But that's all you'll be able to do with ABC News. The integration is the most simplistic we've seen so far. Read along for full details and Android Auto screenshots.
Friday, September 18, 2015
In today's music streaming landscape, Amazon Music is probably one of the heavyweights. And now the service is coming to your car's dashboard via Android Auto. The integration comes amidst a myriad of other music streaming apps which are already Android Auto compatible.
But Amazon Music is a little different, especially if you are an Amazon Prime member. And who isn't these days. Prime membership has a bunch of perks like free two-day shipping on most products sold on Amazon, free streaming of select movies and TV shows, and access to over a million songs and hundreds of playlists via Prime Music.
My full review of Amazon Music with Android Auto screenshots and even a comparison to Apple Music is below.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
After a Justice Department investigation into the faulty ignition switch in General Motors' (GM) vehicles that led to over 120 deaths, the automaker has agreed to pay criminal settlement charges of $900 million. Federal prosecutors brought down the hammer on a few charges including wire-fraud.
By AppRadioWorld at 7:59 PM
Dash Radio features 24/7 live streaming from the biggest DJ's, personalities and curators from around the world. The app has over 60 original and exclusive stations.
More details and CarPlay screenshots are below.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
After I updated my iPhone to iOS 9 there was a pop-up notification that showed up (pictured below)...
By AppRadioWorld at 6:08 PM
Apple released the much anticipated iOS 9 today and there are a lot of new features included. More interestingly, for us anyhow, CarPlay has also received a few performance tweaks. The highly anticipated wireless CarPlay feature is here too!
Full details on iOS 9 and CarPlay are below the page break.
By AppRadioWorld at 5:17 PM
Even though the day Apple sells you a car is a few years away, it doesn't stop anyone from speculating. Codenamed Project Titan, the project has gathered a lot of intrigue after The Guardian posted an exclusive report on a possible testing facility being scouted by Apple.
As more rumors come to light, the little pieces of what the Apple Car may look start falling together. Now, an analyst from Global Equities Research says Apple could be working on a futuristic head-up display (HUD) made for car windshields.
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Would you like to talk to your wrist and control your car like the Knight Rider? Maybe not to the full extent as David Hasselhoff's character did in the TV show, but Hyundai's Blue Link app for the Apple Watch is a start. And maybe someday we will all be yelling at our watches to get our car's attention.
Smartwatch integration of car controls was an unimaginable thing just a few years ago but thanks to the technology available these days it may soon become a norm. As Hyundai explains, "all you need to do is speak a command," and your car will oblige.
Here's what Blue Link allows drivers to do using the Apple Watch...
By AppRadioWorld at 10:46 AM
Monday, September 14, 2015
Pandora Radio has long been one of the big players in music streaming. The service has been available in car dashboards via various mediums (in OEM systems and aftermarket head units) but now it's time to take the next step.
Towards the end of last year, the service announced plans of integrating Android Auto compatibility. And with the latest update of the Pandora Radio app on Android, developers have added Android Auto compatibility.
Check out some Android Auto screenshots below.
By AppRadioWorld at 6:42 PM
There's no denying how dangerous it can be to use your phone while driving. There are laws in place to prevent that from happening yet people continue to text, call and browse the internet while behind the wheel.
Now Toyota is warning drivers against the ill-effects of smartphone-distracted driving by running an ad in Sweden that basically tells you to put your iPhone (specifically) in airplane mode before driving. But Toyota wants to take this a step further and do it for you.
Sunday, September 13, 2015
To be fair, Volkswagen's 'App Connect' feature includes Apple CarPlay along with Android Auto and MirrorLink. The car infotainment package brings these three technologies to the latest Volkswagen vehicles.
But Volkswagen's latest advertisement which has been running on most networks, shows Apple CarPlay but calls it 'App Connect' instead. Of course there is fine print at the end of the ad that says it's CarPlay but the voice model in the ad never mentions it.
Watch it below.
Saturday, September 12, 2015
Apple CarPlay users have faced this annoying issue since the very beginning. Sometimes audio playback in CarPlay gets interrupted and fails to come through. There are quite a few possible triggers for this issue but Apple has either failed or ignored to fix the problem so far.
The only solution right now to get the audio working again is to disconnect the iPhone cable from the head unit or dashboard and reconnect it. This action restarts CarPlay and everything works fine thereafter.
However, it is never safe to be meddling around with your smartphone or its cables while driving. If you're using a Pioneer head unit for CarPlay though, there is a quicker, much safer fix for the issue that only requires tapping a few buttons.
Friday, September 11, 2015
Looks like Daimler, the German automaker behind Mercedes-Benz, won't be supplying any hardware parts for Apple's Project Titan. According to the company's CEO, Dieter Zetsche, although a collaboration with companies like Apple and Google is conceivable, Daimler doesn't want to become a mere parts supplier.
By AppRadioWorld at 4:02 PM
Apple left out quite a few details in its keynote. They didn't mention they were discontinuing the gold-colored iPhone 6 and iPhone 5s in favor of the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus which will be available in four colors - silver, space gray, gold and the new rose gold.
The other thing Apple always seems to do at its keynote is brag about how their new devices get thinner and lighter every year. This year they couldn't say the same thing about the new iPhones.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Two spanking new iPhones were announced by Apple yesterday, and unless you live under a rock, you know that the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will be released soon. According to the Cupertino company, "the only thing that's changed is everything."
Yet, many experts feel the new iPhones failed to wow anyone. Yes, they are faster, have a better camera and have the new multi-touch technology built in, but one feature that's left me scratching my head is wireless charging capability and its lack thereof.
If you're planning to upgrade to a brand new iPhone 6s later this month and own an iPhone 6 at the moment, your current case may be in luck. According to Apple's website, the new iPhone 6s is not much different from the old iPhone 6 as far as dimensions go.
The iPhone 6s Plus is also very marginally different from the iPhone 6 Plus. Check out these dimension comparisons below.
By AppRadioWorld at 5:15 AM
TuneIn Radio introduced its Premium streaming service at the end of last month. The iOS version of the app was updated first when the announcement was made. And now, the Android version of the app has been updated to include TuneIn Premium.
Both versions of TuneIn Radio are CarPlay and Android Auto compatible respectively. More details on TuneIn Premium are below.
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
All the fireworks at the Apple Media Event today have ended and as the smoke settles a few more details are being revealed. Apple announced two new iPhones and one new color to go with it - Rose Gold. But what Apple didn't announce is that gold options will only be available in the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
Take a look at Apple's current iPhone lineup and the color options...
By AppRadioWorld at 5:58 PM
I tend to upgrade my personal iPhone every two years. I've been doing so for quite a while now meaning I never owned an iPhone 5s or 4s or even 3Gs except briefly for work.
If you're like me and caught in the two-year cycle, you've learned to overlook new iPhones for a year. Carrier contracts impose this restriction by not offering discounted pricing unless you're eligible for upgrade to the new devices.
But Apple wants to change that. And today, they've announced their new iPhone Upgrade Program which will allow users to upgrade to a new iPhone every year without breaching your two-year carrier contract.
By AppRadioWorld at 1:36 PM
Apple just wrapped up its keynote address at their Fall event in San Francisco today. Most rumored products were confirmed with new iPhones, Apple TV and an iPad Pro being announced. Here's a summary on how the keynote unfolded.
By AppRadioWorld at 1:04 PM
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Apple will announce new iPhones tomorrow in San Francisco, California. The media event will be kicked off with a keynote that is expected to be iOS-centric.
The keynote will be streamed live to millions of iOS and other devices starting at 10 a.m. Pacific tomorrow. What are the possible announcements coming? The rumor mills have churned out a lot of information this year. Here's a list.
By AppRadioWorld at 8:25 PM
Say you have that favorite French radio station you like to listen to. Or maybe a few reggae tunes from the Caribbean island of Jamaica. There are plenty of apps that would allow you to stream such remotely located stations on Android but when it comes to Android Auto, you have much fewer choices.
One of your choices is Open Radio. The Android Auto compatible app lists almost every country out there and has at least one or two stations in each country it can stream. But there is a problem. A big one. If your favorite radio station is located in a country listed alphabetically after Bulgaria, you may be out of luck.
Android Auto has restrictions for safety reasons to the way long lists of items can be accessed. In fact, I posted about this a few days back. Open Radio throws a ton of content at you which cannot be accessed in Android Auto due to this restriction. There is, however, a way you around it to an extent.
Let me explain.
Monday, September 7, 2015
Apple's Fall media event is almost upon us and everyone is looking forward to the announcement of the next generation iPhones. Along with new hardware, Apple's upcoming iOS 9 will be released. And one feature car enthusiasts will be eager to see is Apple's implementation of wireless CarPlay.
Wireless CarPlay was promised back when iOS 8.3 was announced in April this year. But Apple dropped the feature from the final release. But at WWDC 2015 in June, the feature was included as a part of iOS 9 during Apple's keynote (screenshot above is from the event).
Seems like Apple will finally take a bite at wireless CarPlay. So what are the challenges the feature could face?
Saturday, September 5, 2015
You can look high and low but you won't find a native Android Auto interface for any of the compatible messaging apps. This is because Google has decided to allow all messaging apps to work only using voice commands. CarPlay, on the other hand, is a little different.
In CarPlay, Messages (which is the only messaging app currently compatible) has a dedicated interface. Although you can't read any of your texts on the CarPlay screen, you do get a list of your recent messages by the name of the person who sent them.
In Android 5.0 Lollipop, the SMS messaging app has been included inside Hangouts (which is a little annoying in my opinion). But Hangouts doesn't have a dedicated Android Auto interface or even an icon you can click on to launch. The only way to send messages is using voice commands.
Android Auto has plenty of third-party messaging apps that are compatible with the software. WhatsApp is perhaps one of the popular ones. Check out this short video on how you can receive and send texts in Android Auto...
By AppRadioWorld at 3:14 PM
Friday, September 4, 2015
When CarPlay first launched it worked on any iPhone running iOS 7.1 or later. One limitation was your iPhone's screen had to be unlocked in order for CarPlay to work. Apple did away with that with the release of iOS 8.3 back in April.
If you connect an iPhone with iOS 8.3 or later to a CarPlay-capable head unit or car, you will be prompted to allow permission to use CarPlay while the phone is locked. Click 'Allow' and you should be good to go.
What if you clicked 'Not Now' but later on feel that unlocking the iPhone to use CarPlay can get disruptive? There is a way you can change you permissions through 'Settings'. Here are a couple of other things to keep in mind.
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Both Google and Apple have continually mentioned the need for safety while driving and using their in-car infotainment softwares. Android Auto and CarPlay both have a long list of safety features which are designed to help drivers keep their eyes on the road without getting distracted by the dashboard.
However, one such feature built into Android Auto, is not present on Apple CarPlay. It has to do with the number of times you can tap the display before being locked out. And I have a feeling it may actually jeopardize safety rather than ensure it. Here's a more detailed explanation...
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Satechi has started selling an Apple Watch Grip Mount that will help you put the device on your steering wheel or bicycle's handlebars. And it won't break the bank either. Take a look at this product description and more pictures...
By AppRadioWorld at 5:33 PM
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
And now Android Auto, as you may know, is one of the two big players in the car infotainment playing field; Apple CarPlay being the other one. But unlike CarPlay which works on any lightning iPhone running iOS 7.1 or later, finding an Android Auto compatible smartphone is not as straightforward.
By AppRadioWorld at 4:30 AM