Google praised the wireless version of Android Auto a few months ago, revealing that it was already installed in over 100 million cars out there, all without considering aftermarket upgrades performed by users on vehicles not supporting such systems from the factory.
Everyone has a phone in their pocket, whether it’s an Android or an iPhone, and adding Android Auto and CarPlay support to a vehicle is quite inexpensive, so automakers have no excuse to ignore the growing demand for enhanced infotainment capabilities in their vehicles. However, there has been a trend in recent months that isn’t always good news for some: the world is moving toward a wireless future, and CarPlay and Android Auto appear to be a part of it.
And right now, there are plenty of head units out there allowing for wireless Android Auto, and in some cases, they don’t cost more than a few hundred dollars without taking into account the installation costs. Google bragging about the adoption of Android Auto wireless isn’t necessarily surprising, as the company itself is making big efforts to get this system to as many people as possible. The release of Android 11, for example, unlocked the wireless mode of Android Auto for all phones out there, as long as they come with 5 GHz Wi-Fi support. Previously, only select Samsung and Google Pixel models were supported.
While the adoption of CarPlay is on the rise, the wireless mode is very often favored over the cable version, though this time, there are no actual figures because, you know, it’s Apple we’re talking about here and the Cupertino-based tech giant sticks with its FBI-like secrecy for pretty much everything.
So it’s pretty clear Google is betting big on the wireless version of Android Auto, both right now and in the long term, with cables slowly but surely losing ground in this ecosystem. Especially since devices like AAWireless are so successful, that is.
But it’s not hard to figure out that the future of CarPlay is wireless too. Just earlier this week, Infiniti announced wireless CarPlay as a free upgrade for several 2020 models, therefore allowing owners to run the app without the need for a cable. Apple is remaining tight-lipped on its long-term CarPlay plans, but on the other hand, it’s believed the company is even planning a portless iPhone that would ditch the Lightning connector. For CarPlay users, this means the wired version would be pretty much gone.
The good thing that comes after this en-masse transition to wireless is the demise of the often-buggy wired connection. It’s not a secret that cables have often turned into one big headache not only for Android Auto users but for those running CarPlay too, all because they ended up causing things like random disconnects, pairing problems, and even rendering issues in some apps.
And choosing the right cable to run Android Auto and CarPlay in a vehicle isn’t easy either. Android Auto users need to pick a high-quality and high-speed cord that works with their phones, and most people go for Anker cables; though not even these are a guarantee, they would be provided with a smooth experience behind the wheel.
CarPlay adopters typically stick with the original Apple cable that (still) ships in the box, but unsurprisingly, some of them are struggling with random disconnects, and nobody knows if the culprit is the cable itself or some sort of update released by the Cupertino-based company recently. But at the end of the day, it just looks like the days of wired Android Auto and CarPlay are already numbered. It’d certainly take many years until the migration to wireless is complete, but right now, both Google and Apple are planning to make cables a thing of the past, and automakers out there seem to be all-in on this.