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frankstallone

Android Auto vs. Apple CarPlay

GMC IntelliLink Smartphone  

77 members have voted

  1. 1. How do you connect your phone?

    • Android Auto
    • Apple CarPlay
    • Cell phone with Bluetooth


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I have a 2016 GMC Sierra capable of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and have been playing with CarPlay now for a little while. Yesterday I borrowed a friends used Android to test Android Auto. I'd be interested in your opinions and I will share my experience.

 

I have had iPhones for years now. I am deep in the eco-system as my home and work computers are also OSX. Switching is a daunting thought considering my iCloud Contacts are well curated and my Google Contacts are like the wild wild west. I digress.

 

Generally I have some gripes. CarPlay and Android both require USB and Bluetooth connection to the head unit which is confusing, is USB not enough? I doesn't seem like I could, for instance, connect a secondary Android device for Android Auto that is connected to WiFi via my phone or the car's 4G connect, and have my iPhone connected to the Bluetooth for Siri or even just for phone calls. I would be completely fine with sacrificing the Siri integration from the iPhone if I could get bluetooth audio for phone calls. Maybe I am not doing it right, if you have figured that out let me know. The touch screen is great for a truck head unit. I don't expect anything near what one would get on a new smartphone and I have heard the processor on this newer head unit is faster than the older models which is much appreciated when navigating interfaces. Also, the audio quality for phone calls is superb. Coming from a few year older GTI, people that don't even know I've upgraded don't ever notice I am on the road talking to them anymore. Spot on.

 

After playing with CarPlay I can say that Apple Maps is much nicer to look at than the standard navigation. Apple hasn't convinced me that it's Maps application is ready for the prime time though. IMHO after reading countless articles and having iPhones back when Google Maps was default -- they never should have gotten into the Maps game. That is arguable, and should, theoretically, get better as they are in development of a car. Phone integration with Siri is fantastic as well. Spotify on CarPlay is a delight to look at. Again miles away from the Media interface on the IntelliLink.

 

Android auto -- wow. Whereas it's obvious Apple too the iOS idea with big icons -- and it works on the head unit -- it looks like Google went from the ground up. They took their material design philosophy and applied it to the head unit interface. I have to say it is impressive. Overall the user interface is gorgeous to look at. Navigating around to the different areas, Music, Navigation is a breeze. Ok Google mic is always in the top right corner. Icons are clear. Minimal buttons when not needed. Intuitive controls. If it sounds like I am not giving Apple credit here, they have a system and it works. It's worked for years on my phone so I get that. This is my first intro into the new design of Google's apps and I have to say I am staggered. Google maps on the IntelliLink is a marvel. Incredibly smooth. Design refined over years of Google Maps owning (IMHO) the directions arena.

 

My conundrum is with the whole USB/Bluetooth situation. Android Auto for certain does not work unless you have it connected via USB & bluetooth. Therefore it's not like I can keep an older Android without a cellular plan in the glove box just for Android Auto and still have any integration with the iPhone 6S. That is a huge bummer. I would have no issue buying even a used Android with a cracked screen since I don't need the screen. I'm in a touch position here because of how nested I am in the Apple world and how attractive having Google Maps on that 8" screen. I don't think there is anything else better to look at on that screen.

 

What is your experience? Have I missed anything?

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I have the android auto and apple car play on my 16 Silverado and purposely bought this particular truck over another on the lot because this one had it and the other was one of the 16's that didn't.

I haven't used the car play because I'm an android guy so have no input for that. I do like the AA very much, the phone calls are clear, speech to text message works well ( I can't figure out how to do speech to text message through regular Bluetooth if not connected to AA, not sure if it's even possible) and maps works awesome. I also subscribe to Google play music and use this feature often in the truck...the only complaint that I have is when listening to Google play music and a phone call comes in or I make a call the music will mute like it should but when call is ended it will not un-mute. The music plays but has no sound. I have to unplug the USB and re plug to reset it....annoying. Same situation but listening to radio or sirius the music will start playing normally. If I'm using Bluetooth for Google play music and get a call it resumes like it should. I've posted this question on a Android Auto forum and the only reply I keep getting is to try a different usb cord, I'm using the Samsung cord that came with the phone, not a cheap convenience store version. Anyone else have this problem?

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I carry both a personal Android phone (Nexus 6p) and a company iPhone (6s) everywhere I go. While the iPhone hardware-wise is real slick, the Google Nexus or Pixel phones are just as nice and I am not impressed with how Apple does software nearly as I am with the pure Google software experience. When I upgraded my 2014 Silverado's navigation with the 2016 Carplay/Android Auto nav, I initially tried both out and came away with the same impressions you have-- the AA just gives me way better information and usability options than the Apple Carplay did. I also subscribe to the Google Play Music monthly streaming account and it works great with AA. I really hate iTunes in any format, so I will admit that I never tested how well it works thru Carplay.

 

I also did not really care for the extra step of having to always connect your phone to USB cable, but it is such a habit now, that it really doesn't bother me anymore. It makes sense if you think about it-- the Bluetooth connection works fine for streaming phone call and music data to the nav system, but it probably needs more bandwidth in order to send video and receive touchscreen feedback data, so it has to have the USB connection. I've heard that AA (and maybe Carplay as well) are supposed to have updates that allow pure wireless, but the vehicles would still need to have WiFi capability in order to make that work. I don't want to pay for an extra data plan and then have slower response times--- so I'll pass. I am sure the Bluetooth standard will need to be upgraded to be able to increase data bandwidth for what these systems need to communicate with smartphones.

 

But for what Android Auto gives me right now, i could not imagine a better system that what I currently have. And it should constantly improve as Google tweaks it every so often.

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I too came from a GTI (2010) and the Bluetooth is much smoother in my truck and sound quality is excellent so I use it exclusively. The OEM maps are just fine for me. I have tried using the Apple Carplay stuff and have just found it to be a pain in the butt to have to plug in my device and don't believe Siri can be disengaged. I never use Siri so this really irritates me.

 

The game changer for me would be if Waze was available to use in CarPlay but I don't imagine that will ever happen. Is Waze available for Android Auto?

Edited by 5Horizons
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I just replied back to all of you in a lengthy response including links to articles about Waze and Wireless connection via Android, hit Post, the forums threw a reCaptcha form at me and after completion proceeded to delete my entire post. Great job forum software! I will not be writing all that again.

 

Cliff Notes aka tldr:

 

Android Auto audio issue: Try going into your head unit > setting > AA > Remove device. Delete the AA app on the phone, redownload, re connect to car. That's the only thing I can think of that might fix that bug.

 

Waze: No way on Apple, never going to happen. AA -- they demo'd it back in May but their devs are saying Q1 of 2017.

 

Wireless AA: Same Google Announcement back in spring said wireless AA but nobody has seen it yet either.

 

 

AA & CarPlay are light years ahead of stock head unit interfaces, we all agree on that. All we need is a litttttttle bit further to be happy. =)

 

Final note: I have Spotify for streaming music which I believe is available on both platforms. Copying this entire reply before sending -- like I will from here on forward on any forum before hitting Post.

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I have all Android devices, so I can't speak to the Apple side. Generally I'm super happy with the AA integration, works flawlessly. I think the biggest issues I have had with it are coming from the phone itself and not AA, basically the phone not detecting it's been connected or disconnected. I bumped up my Spotify account just for AA, it's awesome how well that works for listening to music. I'm sure Google Play Music is just as good. Also the recently new 'Ok Google' way of communicating with it has been really nice too, most of the time you don't even have to touch the screen.

 

Frank to maybe address your issue... Could you get a Android phone and use your iPhone as it's wifi hotspot? Just leave the Android plugged into the truck, turn on your iPhone hotspot and the Android would connect to that wifi network for data? Might not be all that convenient, but just a thought I had.

 

The game changer for me would be if Waze was available to use in CarPlay but I don't imagine that will ever happen. Is Waze available for Android Auto?

 

Android Auto and Waze support is supposedly coming out in Q1 2017 from what I have read online.

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... I'm sure Google Play Music is just as good.

 

Frank to maybe address your issue... Could you get a Android phone and use your iPhone as it's wifi hotspot? Just leave the Android plugged into the truck, turn on your iPhone hotspot and the Android would connect to that wifi network for data? Might not be all that convenient, but just a thought I had.

 

 

Android Auto and Waze support is supposedly coming out in Q1 2017 from what I have read online.

 

I have had Google Play Music. It's okay. It's no where near as good as Spotify IMHO.

 

I was thinking of buying a second hand, again even cracked screen, Android and tethering it to the AT&T wifi on the truck (which I can link to my AT&T cell account) or the iPhone, yes. However, I loose all functionality to answer phone calls through the head unit.

Edited by frankstallone

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I don't get why you need a cellular connection if all it takes is USB and Blutooth for AA. I use Apple Carplay but am interested in trying the AA now that I have seen a review... maybe I will see if my Nexus 7.2 will run it...

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I was thinking of buying a second hand, again even cracked screen, Android and tethering it to the AT&T wifi on the truck (which I can link to my AT&T cell account) or the iPhone, yes. However, I loose all functionality to answer phone calls through the head unit.

 

Good point on the phone side, maybe switch to a Google Voice number and have that setup on the Android device so phone calls get routed thru that app instead? Not sure that would work though, throwing darts over here...

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I don't get why you need a cellular connection if all it takes is USB and Blutooth for AA. I use Apple Carplay but am interested in trying the AA now that I have seen a review... maybe I will see if my Nexus 7.2 will run it...

 

I need a cellar connection to make and receive phone calls and text messages. Android Auto's minimum requirement is OS version 5.0. I am testing with a Note 4. It's at something like 5.1.1.

 

Adding photos to show the difference between Apple Maps and Google Maps

 

Apple Maps

In night mode

post-166500-0-13412500-1482362901_thumb.jpg

 

Google Maps

In day mode

post-166500-0-19263600-1482362956_thumb.jpg

post-166500-0-13412500-1482362901_thumb.jpg

post-166500-0-19263600-1482362956_thumb.jpg

post-166500-0-13412500-1482362901_thumb.jpg

post-166500-0-19263600-1482362956_thumb.jpg

post-166500-0-13412500-1482362901_thumb.jpg

post-166500-0-19263600-1482362956_thumb.jpg

Edited by frankstallone
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I've been pleased with CarPlay. Apple Maps has gotten to the point where it works well enough for navigation (though when I'm looking stuff up I always use Google Maps still). Haven't tried AA yet but I hate my work issued Android phone so its basically a non starter for me.

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I actually like the in-dash maps a lot as well. I have traffic and weather from XM/Sirius so it kind of just goes well together.

 

The other thing I like about the Apple navigation is my Apple watch will vibrate my wrist when I am getting close so I can turn off voice prompts (no music interruptions) and still make all my turns.

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Bite the bullet and try an Android phone. It doesn't take long to adapt to the changes. I've had both and currently have a Google Pixel and still use an iPad Pro. Google Assistant and the huge increase in battery life along with maps are reason enough to change. IMO, Google has passed Apple and they have a ton of integrated apps that continue to get better. Since they bought Waze there are already signs of integration. The two are very close but my prediction is that Google has the momentum. And since Android is the dominant system worldwide that will have a long term impact. I know these are inflammatory remarks to Apple die hards and only my opinion.....

 

Edit: Verizon and Best Buy have been running deals for the Pixel and Pixel XL for $10-$15 a month. When was the last time anyone saw a current year Apple for a good price?

Edited by Ron.s
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And since Android is the dominant system worldwide that will have a long term impact. I know these are inflammatory remarks to Apple die hards and only my opinion.....

 

Edit: Verizon and Best Buy have been running deals for the Pixel and Pixel XL for $10-$15 a month. When was the last time anyone saw a current year Apple for a good price?

 

It's ok, heard the same things about PC computers back in early 2000s and then blackberry phones for business purposes around the same time.

 

I got my 7plus for $200 (paid over 24 months) with a 4 year old trade in (iphone 5) which means I still have my 6 as well.

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