Hyundai Sonata to have Apple, Google phone tech by year-end

CarPlay mimics the look of Apple's iOS mobile operating system and lets drivers use some of their iPhone's applications directly on their vehicle's center screen.
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Hyundai will offer in-car smartphone operating systems from Apple and Google on the 2015 Sonata mid-sized sedan by year-end.

The availability of Apple CarPlay and Google’s forthcoming in-car operating system in the Sonata will make the car the first nonluxury vehicle in the United States to offer the systems, said John Shon, product planning manager at Hyundai Motor America, who is responsible for the Sonata.

“One of the most exciting technology features on this vehicle is smartphone integration,” Shon told journalists Tuesday at the Sonata’s media introduction here. “Along with Apple CarPlay, we’ll have the Google Android system available on [the Sonata’s] navigation system by the end of the year. Whether you’re an iPhone user or an Android user, we have your connectivity covered.”

The move makes Hyundai one of the first automakers to use third-party operating systems in vehicles that more closely resemble the user interfaces of mobile phones. When Apple announced CarPlay in March at the Geneva auto show, the company said Honda, Volvo, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz models would also incorporate the system this year.

CarPlay mimics the look of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system and lets drivers use some of their iPhone’s applications directly on their vehicle’s center screen. Drivers can select music, receive and send spoken text messages, navigate using Apple Maps and make phone calls from CarPlay by plugging the phone into the vehicle’s USB port.

Today, Google announced Android Auto, the in-car version of its mobile operating system, at its annual software developer conference in San Francisco. It includes Google Play Music, Google Maps and voice messaging. Automotive News reported this month that the system would be unveiled at the conference.

The system is the first product of the Google-led Open Automotive Alliance, a group working to bring Google’s Android operating system into vehicles that also includes Audi, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai and chipmaker NVIDIA Corp.

The 2015 Sonata is on sale now, but the system’s functionality and integration with Hyundai’s infotainment interface is still being developed. Hyundai says that Sonatas sold before the Apple and Google systems are incorporated into the lineup can have the mobile operating systems added to the car following their release.

Gabe Nelson contributed to this report.

You can reach Ryan Beene at rbeene@crain.com. -- Follow Ryan on Twitter


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