Audi just became more appealing to technophiles today after the company announced its integration of Google’s Android Auto, which was unveiled today at Google’s I/O annual technologies conference in San Francisco. Like Apple’s CarPlay, Android Auto will combine the user’s smartphone with their car’s in-dash infotainment system in a seamless manner that’s conducive for safe driving free of distractions.

Audi’s integration of Android Auto means a lot of new voice controls for Google Play Music, Google Maps, and other functions. Video and multimedia, along with text-rich items won’t be displayed while the car is in motion, but will become available when in Park.

The system comes alive when an Android smartphone is connected to a compatible Audi. A prompt appears asking if the user wants to display their apps through the MMI system. Once chosen to do so, the system basically uses the MMI screen as an interface for the smartphone. Audio streams and microphone inputs are all routed through the car.

What’s more, Audi says the Android Auto system will be available within a number of 2015 model year vehicles, meaning Android Auto-equipped Audis will be roaming the streets starting sometime this fall. Of course Audi ensures that Android Auto-equipped car will not prohibit users from connecting non-Android smartphones like iPhones or Blackberries, but the full functionality of the system won’t be accessible.

Click past the jump to read more about Audi’s Android Auto Connection.

Why It Matters

Google’s entrance into the in-car infotainment system means Apple has a fight on its hands. At the moment, however, we don’t know if automakers will be integrating both Google and Apple systems in each of their cars, but the idea seems only logical. It’s unlikely that customers will chose what smartphone or car to buy as it relates to the other, so automakers will have to integrate both designs in order to refrain from alienating certain smartphone users.

Besides the technical stuff, the addition of Google’s Android Auto is good news for consumers. Those committed Android users — and boy are they committed! — now have a list of compatible automakers set to integrate Android Auto in their products. That list not only includes Audi, but also Ford, Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Hyundai, Honda, Nissan, and Volkswagen.

Audi RS7

2015 - 2016 Audi RS7 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The RS7 is one of Audi’s hottest cars these days. It’s powerful twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 cranks out a large 560 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Of course, Audi’s all-wheel-drive system is standard, making the car a competent handler both on the track and in foul weather. The extra grip afforded by spinning all four tires helps get the RS7 to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 189.5 mph.

The RS7’s design takes after the popular four-door coupe styling made popular by the Mercedes CLS. The Audi’s roof design features that very coupe-like sloping design over the rear passenger compartment that looks rather sporty, but also and unfortunately, begins to crowd rear seat headroom. Those under six feet shouldn’t have a problem though.

The RS7 is the sportier version of the A7 which it shares much of its platform and design. The biggest obvious differences are the engine and suspension upgrades from the A7’s supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 to the RS7’s twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V-8. Starting price for the RS7 starts at a cool $104,900 while the lesser A7 starts at only $64,500.

Press Release

Audi, through its role as a founding member of the Open Automotive Alliance, plans to begin introducing Android Auto technology with all-new models launched in 2015.

Android Auto debuted today at the 2014 Google I/O annual technology conference in San Francisco as the first innovation resulting from OAA, a global alliance launched in January by Google, NVIDIA, Audi and three other automakers to extend the Android platform into cars.

With Android Auto, drivers will be able to seamlessly access their Android device car apps using Audi MMI displays and controls optimized for safe and intuitive operation on the road.

The OAA is dedicated to building an open ecosystem around a common platform in order to drive innovation in the car, allowing automakers to deliver cutting-edge technology more quickly to drivers

“As the leader in the emerging field of connected car technologies, Audi recognizes the importance of meeting our customers’ mobile technology needs on their terms,” said Ricky Hudi, Head of Development Electrics/Electronics, AUDI AG. “But we should only do this through innovations, such as Android Auto, that reduce distractions and improve performance.”

Personal transportation and the personal need to stay informed are two crucial components of everyday life fulfilled by cars and mobile phones. Android Auto helps motorists move the access point for information from the palm of their hand to the built-in displays of their cars allowing hands to remain on the steering wheel and eyes on the road.

After connecting an Android smartphone in a compatible Audi, drivers will see a prompt asking if they want their apps to function through the MMI touch display and controls. The graphics and audio streams, including microphone input and all control interfaces will then operate with Android Auto which is seamlessly integrated into the Audi MMI mobile media application framework developed by the Audi software joint venture on top of the QNX Car automotive operating system.

Apps showing multimedia video content or text heavy displays will be disabled while the car is in motion, a feature that is standard in all Audi MMI systems. Drivers can easily switch from the Android view and the Audi infotainment functions as desired, or upon disconnecting their Android phone.

The addition of Android Auto in forthcoming models will not make Audi models incompatible with other smartphones. Audi has a proven track record of improving the integrated access to mobile devices in its vehicles while focusing first on avoiding distractions for drivers.

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