Toyota Motor Corp. agreed to add Android Auto to its vehicles, according to a person familiar with the matter, ending years of resistance to the Google infotainment software due to safety and security concerns.
Nothing is official just yet. A spokesperson for Toyota did comment on the story, though, saying that the company is aware that there is a high demand for Android Auto.
The addition of Android Auto may attract customers who had stayed away from Toyota vehicles because of the lack of connectivity. More than 80 percent of smartphones use the software from Google, with the rest using Apple’s iOS system, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence.
The automaker was vocal about concerns with Android Auto and protecting customer privacy:
“We wanted to protect our customers’ privacy,” said Mark DeJongh, Avalon’s Executive Program Manager, of the company’s stance against Android Auto in April. “We strongly believe in our stance and in what we’re doing.”
Previously, drivers could access both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto using the SmartDeviceLink platform developed by Ford, and used by Toyota in its current infotainment systems. However, the performance of both systems on SmartDeviceLink was limited compared to conventional installations.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are currently limited to putting an Apple or Google-specific wrapper on infotainment functions, but Google parent Alphabet would like to take things further.
As per THE VERGE, Android Auto is compatible with nearly 50 different car brands around the globe, which is slightly behind the 60 or so that Apple has made deals with. Google has been working hard to push automakers in a different direction, though — it will soon , and recently announced plans to do the same for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.