“Hey, Quit Texting and Go Already!”
My name is Jeff and I just bought a brand-new car. I leased a new 2017 Volkswagen GTI SE, which really is the closest thing there is to driving a BMW (and I can’t afford a BMW). So, when I was ready, I went to the local dealership here in the Raleigh NC area. The salesperson told me about all the features (of which I pretty much knew, because, um …. it’s a CAR)! We took the test drive and blah blah blah, you know the rest. It’s now in my garage. The surprising part came when I learned that Volkswagen was the first car to support Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink. Cool right? Unfortunately, I had no idea what any of them were (maybe I should have paid more attention to the salesman). After a little tinkering, and some good old fashioned “trial and error”, I was ALL KNOWING and it was time to play with the new toys!!
Don’t you love that feeling when you get something new and have never used it before? You know, your first time. It’s kind of like a new girlfriend/boyfriend. So much to discover! Wait, did I just compare Android Auto to a new girlfriend? Yeah, forget that, I was lost in tech euphoria! Anyway, I don’t have an iPhone (I know, I know), but I do have an Android phone (Galaxy S8 – shout out to the Apple Fanboys).
What I did learn from Google is that I just had to download Android Auto from the Google Play Store to get started. I’m not going to bore you with the details of setting up Android Auto, but it was a few taps, some Bluetooth hookup and a USB cable. What matters is that it worked the very first time. Android Auto puts your device in “car mode” which makes things big and well placed by giving you access to your apps via your car’s touchscreen. You can also control your apps with your voice. In no time, I was “Ok Google-ing” myself to my heart’s content. So much fun! I must have sent my wife 10 messages, “Ok Google, text Viv and tell her Hi I’m Jeff’s Car!”, “Ok Google, play Audible”, “Ok Google navigate to the mall”. It all worked, and it worked really well. When I needed to be more specific, I could just tap the app on the car’s touch screen to get what I wanted done.
After the newness had worn off a bit, I noticed that I was actually much less engaged with my phone while driving. The phone stays plugged in, and the touch screen on my dashboard essentially is my phone screen, so it’s less tempting to use the actual handset while I drive. In the past, I would try to only use the phone at stop lights, but sometimes the light turns green and I’m not done! Right? Well now, I can use my voice to send texts, Google’s voice to read me texts, and on top of that I can just ask Google to navigate or launch an app. I really don’t look away from the road much anymore, so it seems like these new teach toys are more than just cool, they are de facto safety devices for my car. I really recommend that you try it if you can. It’s really fun to use and it makes you safer. Plus, if you use it, I won’t be the guy behind you yelling “Quit Texting and Go Already!”