When you go to buy a new car the sales executive talks about the popular features of the car. This also includes the big screen infotainment touch screen system that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Those who don’t know Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are basically a combination of hardware and software designed for safer and ‘smarter’ driving. They basically brings the key apps on your phone screen to the car’s display so that the driver can focus on driving. It gives hands free control of features like navigation, maps, calls, text messages and music. For instance, you can run Google Maps, take calls, check notifications, use Google Assistant or Siri, access your music library via streaming apps and more. All users need to do is pair their smartphone via a cable or wirelessly (only a few cars currently offer this) and leave their smartphone for distraction-free and safer driving.
Even though they have become a very common and popular feature, not every car gets this feature especially if it comes under the Rs 10 lakh price bracket. Simply put, car manufacturers only offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support in the mid-to-top variants.
So if you are buying the base model of a car under a certain budget, you may not get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support. Similarly, if you own a car which is a couple of years old there are chances that it may not have a big touchscreen system like modern cars.
So, what’s the solution to this? Well, the most basic solution is buying a mobile stand for cars and downloading the Android Auto app on your smartphone and using it as an Android Auto system. That’s really cumbersome and doesn’t look that good.
There are practically two ways you can get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality in your car. The first way is to actually buy a third-party infotainment system that supports them, second is to get an Android-based system and use it the way you want.
Option 1: Third-party infotainment systems with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Support
This is probably the most feasible solution to replace your old music system and install a new touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.
One important thing to keep in mind here is to check the available space in your car. These touchscreen systems come in different form factors and display sizes. Brands like Sony, Blaupunkt, Pioneer make such systems. Their prices vary based on screen size and specifications like audio processing engine, RAM, processor, etc. Here, more RAM and better processor means better overall performance of the infotainment system. However, for a basic system you have to pay around Rs 15,000.
Do understand that changing a music system is a tedious job and you might need a good mechanic for this. It is also worth noting that most car showrooms have an accessories section where they sell these infotainment systems and these are probably the best place to buy them.
Option 2: Android-based infotainment systems with screen mirroring and Google Play support
Second option is to get an Android-based infotainment system. These systems are like ThAndroid-based tablets and come with Google Play Store, Google Maps and all the other apps and services that you find on an Android device. They also support screen mirroring so you can mirror your smartphone’s screen.
These infotainment systems support most Android apps and users can practically download any app or game (we recommend not to play games while driving). All you need is an internet connection. You can stream movies, watch videos and songs on YouTube, and download almost any Android app. For calls, you can connect your smartphone via Bluetooth and take calls and receive notifications.
These systems are slightly cheaper compared to the one that comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. You can easily find one in the market for as low as Rs 6,000.