This is the Year for Android Auto

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Android Auto

Android Auto has a lot of catching up to do with CarPlay in the dashboard but this is the year it’s clearly in the race.

Android Auto is coming to 40 car models this year, Google announced at a recent developer conference, said ComputerWorld

And Hyundai just announced Android Auto will be available on its highly affordable 2017 Elantra (that starts at about $18,000 but you need an $800 package for either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto). The package also gives you a 7-inch touch screen, backup camera, cruise control, heated side mirrors among other features, said

Just about every leading car brand is supporting Android Auto except for Toyota, which is also shunning CarPlay.

Apple CarPlay is still ahead of the game as it is available in over 100 car models from 21 brands, announced Apple this month.  A new Apple web site shows which cars offer its easy to use radio interface that links an iPhone with the car radio.

At CES this month, CarPlay and Android Auto figured prominently in announcements from the car companies and the aftermarket. Some of the highlights:

Ford said it is making both systems available on all its 2017 cars with SYNC 3 infotainment systems, starting with a new Ford Escape. Plus owners of 2016 cars with SYNC 3 will be able to upgrade to CarPlay or Android Auto later this year.

Chrysler announced a new Uconnect infotainment system that will support CarPlay and Android Auto.

JBL (Harman) introduced an aftermarket head unit with both CarPlay and Android Auto to ship in February at a record low price of $399.

Jensen (Dual Electronics) also announced four CarPlay head units including two that also hit a record low price of $399.

Alpine announced at CES the introduction of the world’s largest CarPlay head unit—the model i109-WRA with a 9-inch screen. It works specifically with Jeep Wrangler 2011 and up vehicles.

Kenwood broadened its CarPlay and Android lineup, adding it for the first time in navigation decks. Eight new models for 2016 include CarPlay and half of those offer Android Auto as well. CarPlay starts at $800 and Android Auto at $900, the same entry prices as last year, but with more features.

Pioneer announced five new NEX car audio receivers, all with CarPlay and 3 with Android Auto.

JVC Mobile introduced at CES its first CarPlay AV radio, the model KW-V820B, which will carry a price of $599, the

Wireless CarPlay was not on view at CES.

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