Google I/O 2015 is almost here, but at Google I/O 2014, Google announced a little in-car project called "Android Auto." Today, the service finally hits its first actual car—the 2015 Hyundai Sonata.
Android Auto is a lot like Apple's CarPlay. Tether a smartphone to your compatible car and "cast" a specialized car-ready interface to the vehicle's dashboard touchscreen. The OS and apps all run on the smartphone, allowing for easy upgrading over the life of the car. Android Auto brings Google Maps, Google Now, Google voice search, text by voice, and lots of music and messaging apps to your car dashboard.
Android Auto was previewed at I/O 2014, and the app officially launched in March along with (grossly overpriced) aftermarket radios from Pioneer. Hyundai is the first to actually integrate the system in a car.
Existing owners of the "2015 Sonata with Navigation" can stop by their local dealer for a software upgrade that enables Android Auto compatibility, and the car maker says "later this summer" owners will be able to do the upgrade at home by downloading the software to a USB stick. To run Android Auto from your smartphone, you'll need Android 5.0 or higher.