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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Audi Showcases New Android Auto Implementation Without Touch [Video]

Audi showcased its new Q7 at Google I/O this week. The vehicle offers Android Auto connectivity but unlike any other car manufacturer.

A factory-installed Android Auto infotainment system will also be available on the new Hyundai Sonata but their integration includes touch functionality. Audi will make use of its standard MMI controller to navigate through Android Auto.

Check out this demo video from CNET...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 At Bat Finally Arrives On Apple CarPlay

After months of waiting, Major League Baseball's MLB At Bat has finally been added to Apple CarPlay. Although Apple's website has included it as CarPlay compatible for the longest time, the app has been conspicuous by its absence in CarPlay. But with today's update, CarPlay compatibility has been added.

Here are more details, including info on how (or if) it works...

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Google Maps Update To Bring Significant Improvements In Traffic Alerts

Google is expected to rollout updates for its Google Maps applications on mobile sometime soon. The biggest improvement in the new version will be traffic alerts and it's awesome!

Read along for more details.

What To Expect At Google I/O This Year [Opinion]

Google's biggest event of the year, Google I/O, kicks off next Thursday. There are several rumors circling regarding what to expect from the event. Previous I/O events may be an indication on what we may hear Google announce this year.

Android Auto will definitely be featured. But apart from that, here's what could be highlighted at the event...

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Get Smart With Your Keys - KeySmart Review [Pictures]

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about KeySmart, a modern and seamless key carrying solution. If you, like me, carry a bunch of keys with your car keys, this product may simplify your life a little.

The folks over at KeySmart sent me a sample for review recently and I've been using it since. Read along for my full review and additional pictures.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Google Gets The Green Light For Self-Driving Cars To Hit Public Roads

Google has been a front-runner in the self-driving car endeavor for a few years now. After months and months of testing on tracks and closed streets, the autonomous cars will soon hit public roads.

According to a blog post, Google announced that their self-driving vehicles have received the green light for testing on public roads. If you live in Mountain View, Calif., don't be surprised to see funny looking cars marked 'Google' sharing city streets with you.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

You Could Soon Buy Cars Directly From Manufacturers, Bypass Dealerships

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published an interesting blog post on their website yesterday. In it, they made a valid argument against legislative attempts to prevent car manufacturers from selling vehicles directly to consumers.

This topic has gained momentum ever since Tesla Motors announced plans to cut out auto dealerships from the equation. According to the post, the FTC would support any car company that wishes to sell directly to consumers.

Here are some excerpts from the FTC blog post...

EC Touch For AppRadio Says Goodbye To Facebook, Hello To NewsBlur

A few months ago, EC Touch for AppRadio developers announced that they would be dropping support for Facebook integration in their app. That day finally came this month but one service being dropped meant another service being added.

The new service is called NewsBlur, which is a text-to-voice app for breaking news articles from a wide range of sources. Here are some more details and my initial impressions of NewsBlur.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Unboxing The Pioneer AVH-4100NEX: Review Part 1 [Pictures]

Three of Pioneer's five second generation NEX head units are Android Auto compatible. Out of those three, the entry level AVH-4100NEX, gives users an affordable option to get the latest in-car software in the vehicles they already own.

Pioneer sent me the AVH-4100NEX for review a while ago and I finally got it installed. I have been testing and building up a full review on it out ever since. Although that full review is still a few days away, here is the unboxing of the head unit. Plenty more to follow.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

How To Correctly Setup 'Launch Through' In Pioneer AppRadio Mode [How-To]

The latest iOS version of the AppRadio app from Pioneer Electronics has added a very nice feature called Launch Through. Using this feature, you can now have any compatible app launch automatically when starting AppRadio Mode. This can save you the trouble of having to click through the AppRadio Mode homescreen to get to the app you want.

If you have an AppRadio Mode compatible app you use more often than the others, you can set this app to start up when you click 'Apps' on your head unit. Here is the correct way to set this up (with screenshots)...

AppRadio App Update Includes Small Fix For First Generation AppRadio Users

This doesn't happen very often. Pioneer has released an update to its AppRadio app in iOS that includes a small fix for first generation AppRadio (SPH-DA01/SPH-DA02) users. But that's not all. The app has added a few other improvements to AppRadio Mode in general.

Full details are below.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What Happens When A Ferrari 612 Scaglietti Meets A Pioneer AppRadio 4? [Pictures]

Ferrari became the very first automaker to offer Apple CarPlay to its customers. But that was only for the new Ferrari FF and as an OEM car infotainment enhancement. What about the other models?

Seems like the only way to get CarPlay in the Ferrari you already own is via the aftermarket. So when one Ferrari 612 Scaglietti customer wanted CarPlay, he/she picked the Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) to do the trick. And this was the result.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Will We Ever See Beats Music On Apple CarPlay? [Opinion]

Apple announced CarPlay, its foray into the car infotainment market, with a small bunch of third-party apps that would be compatible with the service. Yet, a couple of those apps which have been promised to be available from your car's dashboard, have still not made it through.

Beats Music, which Apple owns through its acquisition of Beats last year, appears on Apple's CarPlay page among the list of compatible apps. But, as CarPlay users know, the Beats Music is not CarPlay compatible.

Will we ever see Beats Music on Apple CarPlay? Here are some clues.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Car Infotainment Systems Should Take Some Tips From This Concept UI [Video]

A little over a year ago, a concept user interface for car dashboards surfaced on YouTube. The UI uses multitouch gestures to control various in-car functions from media to temperature.

The concept is an idea by Mattaeus Krenn, who has even set up a dedicated website explaining how his revolutionary system would work. The reason for creating the idea? To simplify controls in your car dashboards in order to reduce distraction.

Take a look at the video and some more details and pictures below the break. The UI is quite interesting.

Ford Won't Allow Apple Or Google To Take Over Their Infotainment System

If you are planning on buying a new Ford, don't expect Apple CarPlay or Google Android Auto to be the main infotainment system in it. According to an interview given to Re/code, Ford CEO Mark Fields suggested they have no plans in giving up on their SYNC system in favor of the two hottest car infotainment commodities in the market right now.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

This Android Auto Concept Interface Gets The Apple CarPlay Treatment [Video]

Even though the two softwares do the same thing, Android Auto is quite different from Apple CarPlay. The former uses 'cards', for example, to help drivers navigate through its interface. CarPlay on the other hand, uses app icons.

Neither interfaces are customizable. But that didn't stop YouTube user 'Chris Wilczewski' from envisioning a concept of Android Auto that looks somewhat like CarPlay. At least the homescreen does. There's even room for climate controls in the concept. Makes for an interesting interface.

Check out his animated demo below...

Friday, May 1, 2015

Pioneer Support Clarifies AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) Firmware Version 1.08 Details

After learning that new Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) head units were shipping out with firmware version 1.08, I did some digging around for more information. The latest firmware version available for download from Pioneer's website is version 1.07, so where did 1.08 come from and how is it different from its predecessor?

I contacted Pioneer support hoping for an answer, and this is the reply I received today...

The TechMatte MagGrip Uses Magnets To Mount Your Phone [Car Mount Spotlight]

Car mounts are an essential part of life these days as stringent laws prevent the handling of your smartphone while driving. For everyone's safety, it is best to have your smartphone securely mounted on or around your dashboard.

Just a few days back, I told you about the Koomus Car Mount, which works with almost any smartphone out there. Today, in the second edition of my Car Mount Spotlight, I present to you the TechMatte MagGrip Magnetic Universal Car Mount.

Like the Koomus, this mount will also work with any smartphone. More details and pictures are after the break...