At the IFA 2015 tech show in Berlin today, Samsung pulled the covers off its new in-car dashboard app ‘Car Mode’ for Galaxy line, a smartphone-based infotainment system for its latest lineup of smartphones.
The latest version uses MirrorLink to show apps and services on a car’s in-dash touchscreen. The function is pretty much same as Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto. The only difference is that Samsung’s feature is available only on its most recent devices like the S6 Edge+ and the Note 5.
Google’s Android Auto, however, requires access to a myriad of low-level sensors in the car to accumulate information such as wheel speed (to determine how fast you’re navigating through the road, arrival estimates, etc.) and control music through the speakers. The glitch is, car manufacturers cannot grant anyone access to integral sensors, hence, they need to team up with Google before Android Auto can be installed in their vehicles.
The core functionality of the in-car dash is some ways better than its earlier iterations. For example, the Car Mode can be used to read and reply to text messages, via voice commands. Similarly, it has more features such as music playback, and navigation where one can search for a destination and ask for directions, or put directions to bookmarked addresses. Driving instructions to the desired destination are displayed on the car’s navigation screen.
Samsung Car Mode for Galaxy will work best with MirrorLink, a wireless connection between devices and cars that support the technology. Whatever is displayed on the smartphone screen is beamed onto the car using MirrorLink connectivity, a wireless connection between devices and cars, so that the app can interact through steering wheel controls, dashboard buttons, or simply the dashboard touchscreen. For vehicles that aren’t compatible, Samsung says there’s also a standalone mode available without MirrorLink.
Samsung Car Mode app will be available across their range of devices starting this Friday. It has partnered with Volkswagen, and we’ll see new integration between Samsung’s devices and its cars with a dedicated Car Mode app called Car-Net E-Remote. It will have access to more sensors than the standard app, hence will do extra things such as remote lock/unlock, use car’s GPS to tell you where you’ve parked it, and if it’s an electric vehicle, tell you where it’s charging or not.