2015 Hyundai Sonata: Forget SMS - Android Auto Can Send WhatsApp Messages
August 6, 2015
Unquestionably, Android Auto transforms our long-term 2015 Hyundai Sonata's navigation system experience for the better. But the main reason I decided to switch to an Android phone a few months back is the interface's support for third-party messaging apps.
Yes, I know. Most cars already give you speech-to-text capability for SMS texts. But I only send regular text messages when I have to. During the workday, my husband and I exclusively use WhatsApp to communicate about things large and small (it was the best app we could find after we gave up our BlackBerrys and could no longer use BBM). And Android Auto supports WhatsApp.
As I demonstrate in this video, the WhatsApp interface within Android Auto is basic but functional. You can tap a message when it comes in to have it read to you.
Then, you can either hit the mic icon in the upper right corner of the screen or long-press on the Talk button on the Sonata's steering wheel. You really do have to long-press on this button, by the way, because a short press takes you back into the car's native voice control system.
An obvious downside is that if you WhatsApp with multiple people, you can only communicate with the one who messaged you most recently when you're in the Hyundai Sonata. You can't select a specific contact name, and so far, "Reply" is the only voice command I've found that works. This very lengthy report on Android Auto goes into more detail about the limitations of messaging with the current version.
If I had more friends, these limitations would bother me. But for the moment, I only exchange WhatsApps with my best friend, so this very simple setup works well, which is to say, it's far better than not being able to WhatsApp at all.
Erin Riches, Deputy Editor