Toyota says it “hasn’t forgotten about Android customers” after forsaking Android Auto due to privacy concerns
The now fairly ubiquitous, three-year-old Android Auto is supported in many cars, from Fiat, Kia and Mitsubishi to Mercedes and Maserati.
Its mirrors your phone’s screen to the in-car head unit, allowing you to use your phone safely while driving thanks to larger touch buttons, a simpler interface and support for Google Assistant.
However, not all manufacturers are sold on the idea.
Back in January, Toyota announced that Apple CarPlay support would be coming to the new Avalon. This was despite the Ford-Toyota alliance, unveiled back in 2017, pledging to keep Apple and Google out of their cars. While Toyota seems to have gone back on its word regarding Apple, the same can’t be said for its position on Android Auto.
When asked why by Motor1, Mark Dejongh, Toyota Avalon’s executive program manager, explained that privacy concerns were at play.
“We’re a conservative company and we wanted to make sure everything was okay. We wanted to protect our customers’ privacy. We strongly believe in our stance and in what we’re doing,” Dejongh said.
According to Motor1, Toyota’s concerns with privacy stem from a 2015 report by Motor Trend that claimed Google collects “vehicle speed, throttle position, coolant and oil temp engine revs” when Android Auto is in use.
While Google denied these claims to Gizmodo, saying it “takes privacy very seriously” and that it doesn’t take elements of that, there were a few omissions.
Google didn’t refute the claim that it keeps data on engine revs, for example, nor did it deny taking vehicle speed readings. And that’s seemingly a major problem for Toyota.
“We understand there is demand for Android Auto and have not forgotten about our Android customers,” Brian Lyons, senior manager of Advanced Technology Communications at Toyota told Alphr. “We have taken steps to support them including enhancing our Entune 3.0 App Suite Connect system to allow third-party app developers, such as Alexa for example, to become directly compatible with our system.”
The news comes as Google earlier this week rolled out wireless Android Auto to all of its Google phones – that’s the Pixel 2, Pixel and the 2015 Nexus phone. Until Monday, Android Auto users have had to connect their phones using a USB cable in order to use Android Auto in their car.
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