Why Android Auto and CarPlay are better than in-car infotainment, MirrorLink sucks and telematics are wanted

android-auto-os.dabf16fcStrategy Analytics analysis of infotainment services show consumers at odds within themselves for what they want and like. A telematics study found drivers want telematics. Another study found that automaker infotainment navigation and search is seen as out of date, while users preferred Android Auto. Android Auto does require users to have several levels of understanding.

One report from the In-Vehicle UX (IVX) group at Strategy Analytics  found that overall consumer interest for in-vehicle telematics services has rebounded after levelling-off in 2014. In particular, interest remains robust for services which provide immediate help in time-sensitive emergency situations such as remotely unlocking a vehicle or stolen vehicle assistance. Respondents from the US and China, premium vehicle owners, and younger age groups were found to show interest in slightly greater numbers; overall however, strong interest in telematics was found across all regions and demographics.

Strategy Analytics surveyed consumers in the US, Western Europe, and China regarding their interest in telematics and remote vehicle management services such as stolen vehicle assistance, remote diagnostics, and teen driving alerts. Interest in most telematics services has increased sharply since 2014 and was found to be highest among premium vehicle owners for many services. Age group differences were mixed, but interest in many services showed a slight downward trend as age increased. Although consumer interest in teen driving alerts was modest, it was lower than interest in all other telematics services evaluated, especially in the US and Europe.

Today’s news release calls for mirrored infotainment. While Android Auto and Apple CarPlay work well as standalone systems for consumers, these systems do not provide all the infotainment sources consumers want,noted a news release issued today.

Usage of and interest in traditional radio is still the primary entertainment source. Apps such as iHeartRadio and TuneIn could eventually fill this void but consumer awareness and usage of these apps is not yet widespread. Using large amounts of monthly data allowances to stream local radio is also unlikely to sit well with consumers. Given this, it is imperative that mirrored solutions are integrated well with a native infotainment system. Users need to be able to easily move from one system to another, and actively receive notifications for features in the system they are not currently in. Failing to do so can take two systems that individually work well, but create confusion and frustration when together, noted the company.

A new user evaluation from the In-vehicle UX (IVX) group at Strategy Analytics  ssessed Android Auto with the 2015 Hyundai Sonata. Users need to:

  • Have the latest Android Auto software for it to work.
  • Understand what Android Auto is.
  • Understand how Android Auto duplicates features already present on the native system.
  • Understand which features and functions of the native system will be disabled if Android Auto is enabled.
  • This heavy reliance on the consumer themselves may lead to a confusing and frustrating experience for those who might have trouble differentiating between what Android Auto can and cannot do, and which features require the native infotainment system.

Strategy Analytics analyst Chris Schreiner, reported that the main long-term issue regarding Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is whether they will make navigation and other native connected infotainment features obsolete. In benchmark tests for tasks which could be handled by both Android Auto and the native infotainment system, consumers overwhelmingly preferred the user experience provided by Android Auto. The interactions were smoother, quicker, and had fewer usability issues. Participants saw the native system as dated and the POI database as less accurate.

Kevin Nolan, VP, UXIP warns that the user experience of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will only be this seamless if users do not want to access features supplied only by the native infotainment system.

The In-vehicle UX group forms part of the User Experience Innovation Practice (UXIP) at Strategy Analytics. Focusing on user behaviors, motivations.

MirroLink did not fair well with Strategy Analytics UI investigators who found that menus are inconsistently laid out; text is hard to read due to poor and inconsistent sizing and contrast; touch targets are often small or hidden; and a lack of spacing encourages accidental button presses. Most importantly however, the pairing process is rife with bugs. Repeated efforts to connect the handset to the in-vehicle infotainment system yielded a variety of errors before connection was eventually established; a first-time user would not be as patient. Only a handful of Samsung, Sony, and Nokia smartphones are actually compatible with MirrorLink. Most crucially, voice recognition and “push-to-talk” steering wheel buttons are not functional with MirrorLink unless the phone is also paired via Bluetooth. Requiring users to perform this task twice (i.e. via USB and Bluetooth) is not best practice.

A trend we saw at Telematics West Coast is that some automakers such as Hyundai are leaving the infotainment to Android Auto or Apple CarPlay while they design the car hardware.


2 thoughts on “Why Android Auto and CarPlay are better than in-car infotainment, MirrorLink sucks and telematics are wanted”

  1. questions:
    1: What happens when a driver forgets his/her phone?
    2: What happens when the cellphone overheats/breaks/cracks its screen?
    3: What happens when the cellphone runs out of power because the driver didn’t plug it in, or the plug falls out?
    4: What happens when the cellphone freezes up while driving down the road depending on its navigation system?
    5: Which is easier for the driver to use: a built-in system always available in the car with the keyturn; or a cellphone, in whatever condition it happens to be in, and availability?

    There are other solutions to the infotainment system that enable innovation, and connectivity in and out of the car, while not sacrificing reliability, stability, and availability. Take a look at JamaicaCAR from Aicas for a look at the future of automotive infotainment,

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