aftermarket Stories October 7, 2014

With Pioneer now offering aftermarket CarPlay support through their existing NEX displays, I got the chance to finally test drive CarPlay (without having to buy a new car) and see how Apple’s driving-optimized iPhone experience performs on the road.

Apple describes CarPlay as “a smarter, safer way to use your iPhone in the car” because tasks like making phone calls, sending messages, finding directions, and playing music from your iPhone are completed using Siri and the car’s touch screen rather than fiddling with your phone in your hand.

In short, CarPlay has a lot of promise and already makes a few things easier, but it’s not without its hiccups just yet. I’ll share my hands-on experience with upgrading to CarPlay with an aftermarket Pioneer display including a few interesting tidbits and lots of photos below. expand full story

aftermarket Stories June 25, 2014

Car makers will offer Android Auto alongside CarPlay later this year

How will Google’s new ‘Android Auto’ CarPlay competitor compare? On top of opening up the SDK, unlike Apple, to messaging and audio apps, it also has a ton of support right of the bat through the Open Automotive Alliance. Following Google’s unveiling of its new Android Auto connected car platform, a long list of both new and old members of the Open Automotive Alliance have confirmed support for the new feature. Many of which are also confirmed partners for CarPlay and at least some plan to launch both platforms simultaneously in upcoming vehicles. A press release lists a number of new OAA members including Bentley, LG, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Maserati, Volvo and many more. The news also confirms that we’ll see aftermarket solutions for Android Auto from companies like Pioneer, Parrot and Alpine, which are also building aftermarket solutions for CarPlay. Here’s a full list of new OAA companies that will support Android Auto:

  • Alpine
  • Bentley
  • Clarion
  • CloudCar
  • Delphi
  • FIAT Chrysler
  • Freescale
  • FUJITSU TEN
  • HARMAN
  • Infiniti
  • JVCKENWOOD
  • LG
  • Maserati
  • Mazda
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nissan
  • Panasonic
  • Parrot
  • Pioneer
  • Renault
  • Renesas
  • SEAT
  • Škoda
  • Subaru
  • Suzuki
  • Symphony Teleca
  • Volkswagen
  • Volvo

That list doesn’t include founding and old members like Audi, GM, Google, Honda, Hyundai and others. Volvo and Hyundai have now independently confirmed that they will both support the platform. Interestingly, both companies are also confirmed partners of Apple’s competing CarPlay platform.

When it comes to Volvo, the company announced today that it’s joining the Open Automotive Alliance and plans to bring Android Auto to all its cars using a new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) starting with the all-new XC90. That’s notable considering that’s also the first vehicle Volvo will use to introduce Apple’s CarPlay feature later this year. Up until now there was some question about how a platform from Google might co-exist alongside Apple’s platform, but it appear at least some manufacturers plan to offer both of the competing platforms side by side in new vehicles. We’ll have to see if others decide to go Apple or Android only or offer exclusivity windows for either platform. We’ll also have to see if aftermarket solutions– like these ones from Pioneer— pack in support for both features or limit hardware to Android or CarPlay.

Hyundai, another confirmed Apple partner, will also be bringing Android Auto to its in-dash displays alongside CarPlay. Honda, also a confirmed Apple partner, released a similar announcement on Android Auto saying the feature will appear in select vehicles starting in 2015. It noted “Applicable Honda vehicles will be cross-compatible with CarPlay and Android Auto. The vehicle will automatically detect the smart phone OS.”

aftermarket Stories April 16, 2014

Apple website confirms aftermarket CarPlay installations coming soon from Alpine, Pioneer

Apple has quietly added a line on its CarPlay microsite acknowledging that it will indeed support the feature in existing cars through aftermarket systems. Specifically, Alpine and Pioneer are listed under the line “And you’ll soon be able to add CarPlay to your current car with an aftermarket system.” The companies announced earlier this week plans to update existing in-dash display systems with CarPlay compatibility through firmware updates. While the announcements had the full weight of credibility, Apple recognizing these brands specifically on its microsite is a significant development as the company has only pushed upcoming vehicles as having the feature up until now. Earlier today, Hyundai announced it will bring CarPlay to its 2015 Sonata early this summer leaving Honda the only partner committed to delivering CarPlay this year without an announcement. Other partners committed to CarPlay in 2014 include Volvo, Ferrari, and Mercedes-Benz and have already announced models with CarPlay support.

aftermarket Stories April 15, 2014

Following reports yesterday that car electronics manufacturer Alpine was planning to launch aftermarket CarPlay units in the fall, Pioneer issued a press release today confirming a firmware update for existing in-dash systems. Pioneer will be bringing Apple’s new CarPlay system to existing vehicles using the company’s five 2014 NEX in-dash multimedia receivers this summer through a firmware update.

Utilizing large, in-dash Pioneer LCD displays, CarPlay featuring Siri® voice control, gives iPhone users the features while allowing them to stay focused on the road. With CarPlay, consumers with iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5 can use Siri to make and receive calls, compose and respond to text messages, use Apple Maps for navigation and listen to their music, podcasts and iTunes RadioSM. For more information about CarPlay, visit www.apple.com/ios/carplay.

As for what vehicles and in-dash systems it will support, it sounds like it will be limited to 2014 editions of the in-dash receivers mentioned above. For the US, those include the following: expand full story

Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip

aftermarket Stories April 14, 2014

In March, Mercedes-Benz said that it had plans to offer aftermarket CarPlay units by the end of 2014. As noticed by MacRumors, a Nikkei report from Saturday reveals that car electronics manufacturer Alpine has similar plans.

Alpine will begin selling a standalone car console that integrates CarPlay in the fall. Although many car manufacturers are going to offer CarPlay-equipped cars in their new ranges very soon, Alpine will be the first company to sell an independent CarPlay unit, that can be installed on current cars. The cost is reported to be between $500 to $700.

expand full story

aftermarket Stories March 14, 2014

While we recently confirmed that Mercedes-Benz is planning to have an aftermarket CarPlay solution for older vehicles out by the end of the year, some of Apple’s other partners aren’t as confident. The two other companies that have so far announced the feature for new vehicles— Ferrari and Volvo— are both hinting that aftermarket CarPlay solutions are probably not happening anytime soon.

We reached out to Volvo about its aftermarket CarPlay strategy and the company told us there are “major roadblocks” to overcome before it commits to any plans for older vehicles: expand full story

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