A software upgrade featuring Android Auto phone compatibility will be made available to US customers in March 2016, as long as they drive a Canyon, Sierra or a Yukon equipped with the 8″ IntelliLink system.
The upgrade, performed by GMC dealers, will help Android Auto join the ranks of Apple CarPlay (unveiled earlier this year), offering users easy access to select smartphone features such as Google Maps, Google Now, Google Play Music, Spotify and a messaging app ecosystem that includes WhatsApp.
Plenty of system features will be controlled via voice commands, which means that drivers won’t have to take their eyes off the road – at least in theory.
Duncan Aldred, US VP for Buick & GMC said that “providing Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility ushers in a new era of staying connected in a convenient manner.”
Just like with most car manufacturers, connectivity has become a very important component of GMC’s interior tech features. Last year, many GMC models began offering OnStar 4G LTE connectivity and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing occupants to connect up to 7 personal devices.
Potential customers should keep in mind that Android Auto is designed to work only with phones running 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher, so if your Android device is still running 4.4 KitKat, you should definitely upgrade.
Those of you that are sticking with Apple CarPlay, know that this system’s minimum requirement is an iPhone 5, so adjust accordingly.
Either way, being more connected while on the move is a great thing – as long as it doesn’t interfere with your driving.