Technology moves fast, and you’ll probably end up upgrading your phone sooner than you upgrade or trade cars. These days, smartphones can do so much more in your car than just making phone calls or reading out and responding to text messages.
A lot of people use them to stream music, and get directions to their next destination. There’s also a lot of transformation on how our phones connect and interact with our cars. So what we are doing is identifying the best all round smartphone platform that will give get you the most out of your car.
Android (Google), iOS (Apple) or Windows Phone (Microsoft)?
Chances are, if you own a smartphone you’re running one of these three operating systems on your phone. Each of them achieve the same thing at their core: Making/Receiving Calls, Sending SMS messages and running apps.
However, thanks to differing market share and length of time being available – car makers have strived to develop their latest tech around the more popular phones and operating systems.
Windows Phone from Microsoft
Windows Phone is one of newer operating systems for smartphones and in a bid to grow the market share of the platform, Microsoft purchased Nokia following an already close relationship.
This has resulted in a number of great phones at affordable prices to be made available, but due to the lack of market share, the must have apps for consumers isn’t there. As well as some features or technology being not available this has also meant that accessories or integration with other products has been limited.
A result of these limitations and current lack of market share has meant that the only features you can expect to get out of almost any car through your Bluetooth connection is:
- Making/Receiving of phone calls
- Downloading of your contact list
- Reading out of SMS messages
- Dictating SMS messages
- Playing music via Bluetooth
So it’s a limited list and a list that the Android and iOS phones do too.
Android from Google
Android has been the platform that has the largest market share by far, but due to the lack of specific requirements the phones can vary in price and features.
This hasn’t stopped car makers from making applications for phones running Android, but what it does mean is that you might not get the whole experience available if you’re running a phone that is either a few years old or on the cheaper end of the spectrum.
However, at least the applications and the in car capabilities are possible. Companies like Holden, Toyota, BMW and Mercedes have applications available that can bring phone apps like Pandora or GPS navigation apps to the screen in your car. Not only making your phone more capable, but meaning that your cars entertainment is only limited to what apps are available.
For some manufacturers, this means that you’re also able to turn your car on or off, lock the vehicle or start the air conditioning before you get to your car.
iOS from Apple
When it comes to smartphones, the Apple iPhone running iOS was the one that started it all. It started the app revolution and it resulted in massive market share of a single device.
What this meant for app makers and car manufacturers alike, is that they can create a single consistent experience for the largest group of people. This has also resulted in many car manufacturers creating partnerships or developing their apps and in car entertainment around the iPhone.
It also means that there is a huge range of accessories from stores like JB HiFi that are made specifically for the iPhone. So you can go to any shop and find a charger, car mount or specific accessory for the iPhone pretty quickly and easily.
Recently, Apple has also been working hard on creating a specific interface for car entertainment systems called CarPlay. It’s designed to make using your phone super easy, safe and like no other experience. Not only have car audio system makers like Pioneer have already made it available, but Ferrari has it implemented on their latest Ferrari California T.
Here’s a quick video by Volvo about CarPlay:
Not to discredit Google with their Android Auto system, which is similar, but you can almost be rest assured that the Apple experience will be made available in more cars a lot sooner.
Check out this overview of Android Auto from Google:
If you’re wanting to get the very best in car experience and you have a modern car to take advantage of it, there’s no doubt you’d be happy with an Apple iPhone.
History has proven that more car manufacturers bring features or apps to it first followed very closely by Android.
You can be very confident in thinking that if an app or feature is available for the iPhone, it either is currently available or not very far from being available on Android.
Unfortunately, Windows Phone users for now will be left with basic functionality in their cars.
One thing is for sure: If you’re buying a new car, on the test drive or in the show room, make sure to connect your phone and see how it interacts or if it works at all. Because depending on your phone, the experience may be different to the dealership staff.