Google has released an automobile app, Android Auto, in partnership with domestic companies such as Hyundai-Kia Motors and Kakao Mobility.
Google officially announced the release of Android Auto at a press conference on July 12 at KiaBit 360 in Apgujeong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
Android Auto is an app that connects the car screen with an Android smartphone and provides various functions.
The functions available through Android Auto include navigation; communication (making calls, text messaging); media playback (Melon, Bugs, Genie, etc.); and Google Assistant (voice support).
Google Assistant mounted on Android Auto will support Korean, which is the first language other than English that it supports since the launch of Google Assistant in 2015.
Android Auto will be compatible with all vehicles of Hyundai-Kia Motors. Hyundai-Kia Motors applied Google's Android Auto for the first time in the world in 2015 in the US.
The key feature, navigation, is based on Kakao Navi from Kakao Mobility. This is the first time Android Auto has been linked to an app other than Google Map or apps of Ways, Google's subsidiary, for navigation.
This is because Google does not provide navigation service in Korea as it is not allowed to use Korean digital maps.
The music playback function is available through domestic music services such as Melon, Genie, and Bugs.
"We thought Korea was an important market," said Laurence Kim, the lead product manager of Google Android Auto. "We will add more features and keep improving the current features."
Kim, who is a Korean-American, said, "We have a lot of South Koreans on Android Auto Team and Google Assistant Team. They gave Korea a higher priority so we decided to release the service sooner in Korea than in other countries."
Voice recognition is activated when you press the voice recognition button on the steering wheel or the microphone icon on the Android Auto screen or say "OK Google".
"We use wired connection for the time being as wireless connection causes the battery problem of the mobile phone,” said Chu Kyo-woong, the development director of Hyundai-Kia Motors Infotainment Division. “We expect to have other navigation apps in addition to the Kakao Navi."