Mercedes demos CarPlay: Promises Android link when Google delivers

Chris Davies - Mar 4, 2014
Mercedes demos CarPlay: Promises Android link when Google delivers

Mercedes has walked through its Apple CarPlay integration, as well as committing to support Android integration whenever Google deems fit to release it, while working on its own system for Android users in the meantime. The new video, showing how your iPhone hooks up to your shiny new Mercedes-Benz and pushes the driver-friendly CarPlay interface to the dashboard display, comes alongside a renewed commitment by the German marque to support multiple standards, including Google’s work-in-progress and MirrorLink.

Official Android support will be offered “as soon as Google brings its own in-car infotainment system to market” the company says. However, it’s also working on an Android upgrade to its own Drive Kit Plus system, offered as an option on certain models, rebuilding the Digital DriveStyle app to run on Google’s platform.

Mercedes-Benz - Apple "CarPlay"

That will arrive sometime in the middle of the year, Mercedes says now. Exact functionality is yet to be confirmed, but the iOS version can pull in social networking updates from Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, can stream audio both stored on the iPhone and from online, and use navigation apps for directions. iPhone users also get Siri support, though Google Now could end up being substituted for that.

Mercedes-Benz CarPlay walkthrough:

As for MirrorLink, Mercedes was a founding member of the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) responsible for developing the cross-platform system. Unlike Apple’s proprietary CarLink system, MirrorLink uses standardized tech like USB, WiFi, UPnP, and VNC to bring apps and services from a phone to the dashboard.

However, there have been few actual infotainment systems equipped to support MirrorLink, and only a few handsets that can connect to them successfully.

Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, and Volvo will all offer CarPlay-enabled vehicles this year; Mercedes’ new C-Class is being demonstrated with the technology at the Geneva Motor Show, while Volvo’s upcoming XC90 SUV will be the Swedish company’s first to adopt the Apple technology.

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