Android for your car has been a long-rumored concept, and now it’s finally here in all its glory at Google I/O.
Dubbed Android Auto, it isn’t a fully embedded OS for your car, but a connection between your car’s interface and your device. Each system is personalized just for you, because all you have to do is plug in and go. For more information about the platform, click here.
Be sure to check out the rest of our Google I/O 2014 coverage as well.
Garmin finally decided that its $30 StreetPilot app might be a little overpriced, and has just released a new app called víago. With víago, pricing starts at $1.99 ($.99 until July 13), but you can also add additional features through in-app purchases.
Let’s start with what you get for $1.99. You will get off-board maps for many regions around the world along with lane assist, weather information, in-map traffic display, photo-realistic junction views, and the current speed (with speed limits). Premium add-ons include downloadable maps (“Maps to Go”) for when you don’t have a data connection, real-time traffic, urban navigation with public transportation, 3D terrain view, and more. In app purchases range from $4.99 to $19.99.
One of the greatest features of a modern smartphone is its ability to completely replace your GPS. There are tons of navigation apps, from Google Maps for your location searching and turn-by-turn directions, to Waze for crowd-sourced road data, to apps like Foursquare that help you find interesting places in your area. The apps are fantastic, but there’s always a risk of distracted driving (and accidents) if a user plays with the app instead of paying attention to the road. Because of those accidents, the US Transportation Department may be looking into ways to impose stricter rules on the use of those apps.
At CES 2014, Garmin decided to announce its HUD+ device to make driving safer. Like the original HUD did, information is projected onto the driver’s windshield. The difference is on the software side. Before, the HUD only worked with select Garmin apps that users had to purchase from the Play Store. The HUD+, however, allows drivers to use its own companion app. The original HUD will stick around for $149 while the new HUD+ will retail for just $179. Not bad for people that want a heads-up display.
Hit the break to watch our hands on video.
Want comedian Kevin Hart to give you driving directions? He can with Waze. Google’s other navigation service has teamed up with Universal Pictures to allow celebrities to guide you through your travels. The reason Kevin Hart is first up is because of his upcoming film Ride Along, appropriately named, that he costars with Ice Cube. Universal Pictures is likely paying some money to have Hart and the film’s name featured in the app. To activate this feature, head over to Settings/Sound/”English – Ride Along”.
Rather than just relying on data, Waze crowdsources information from other drivers. Users share traffic and accident reports, speed limit markers, stationed police, and hazards for others to know of; therefore, you can travel accordingly.
As Google Glass gets closer and closer to a public launch, features continue to be added. Today, Google announced a big new feature – Transit. Transit for Google Glass allows users who have paired their headset to their Android phone to see public transit directions while navigating. In addition to directions, users will see other helpful information like where to change trains, how far you have to walk to the bus stop and how long it should take to reach your final destination.
Another minor feature added is the ability to tap to select links in notifications. You can find the latest Glass update in the MyGlass Explorers Community.
If you are looking for a place to lay your head down for some rest, the latest update to Google Maps that is rolling out is definitely geared toward you. The latest improvements include improved hotel search results, including “sponsored” rates and booking links. To help you get to the hotel quicker, Google has made it faster to access navigation and provides both route and traffic overview information. Sliding out the side menu will reveal a new option “Tips and Tricks” that will take you to a help page in your browser. Of course, Google includes the standard “bug fixes” as part of what is included in the update.
You can use the link below to head over to Google Play to try to grab the update if you have not already installed it.
Google Play Download Link
Garmin was always the name you thought of when it came to Navigation systems, but Google Maps and smartphones changed the landscape forever. Companies like Garmin need to come up with more creative ideas or innovations to stay competitive. The HUD is the perfect example. It stands for Head-up Display, and appears to be not only innovative, but very cool. It is a portable accessory that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. You rest it on your dash and it will project navigation information to a transparent film on your windshield or an attached reflector lens. The only caveat is that you need to be running the Garmin StreetPilot or NAVIGON app on your phone.
HUD will display turn arrows, distance to the next turn, current speed, speed limit, and estimated time of arrival. It will even warn you of traffic delays and make sure you are in the right lane for the next turn. You will still get spoken turn-by-turn directions from one of the compatible apps I mentioned above. If you happen to connect your phone to your car’s Bluetooth-enabled stereo, any music you are listening too will fade out with spoken prompts. Also, when you take a phone call, HUD will continue to display the information.
HUD will be available this summer for a price of $129. As I mentioned, you will need to use either the Garmin StreetPilot or NAVIGON app, which both start at $29.99. Full presser after the break.
Navigation pioneer TomTom has recently updated its app to support more than 200 new Android devices– which is more than what was seen in the original app. The update includes some important features such as the ability to save map data to your SD card and a redesigned driving view to make key information more accessible. New supported devices include the Samsung Galaxy S III, HTC One X, LG Optimus G and other smartphones with a screen resolution between 800 x 480 pixels and 1280 x 800 pixels.
TomTom’s Android app will run you about 38 bucks, while the various subscription packs costs anywhere between $43 and $75 depending on your region. I’m not sure why anyone would fork over that much cash when Google Navigation offers a free and outstanding solution. I suppose it makes sense for regions that are still not covered by Google Navigation. Hit the source link below to pick up the app for your region.
Play Store Download Link
Sure, most have the world has been utilizing Google’s free turn-by-turn navigation via Google Maps for years, but until now users south of the border have been left out of the action. Well, that’s changing today as Google has announced that Google Maps Navigation is now available to users in Mexico, albeit in beta.
Much like its other-wordly counterparts, the Google Maps app features full turn-by-turn directions, directions by point of interest, Spanish-language voice search, voice playback and even real-time traffic updates.
Users will need to be running at least Android 2.2 Froyo to take full advantage of Google’s new application. Those who fit the bill can head to the Play Store to find the official download.