Do You Care If Your Car Comes With Phone Apps?

Photo credit: Andrew Collins

For the last couple years we've been hearing automakers blather on about the importance of "connectivity solutions" and ways to marry your car with your phone, even beyond AndroidAuto and Apple CarPlay. Do you need "achievements" to unlock to enjoy driving? Do you want them?

My parents would have loved this. Thank god I don't live with them anymore. (Image Credit: Andrew Collins)

The 2017 Kia Soul Turbo I'm testing out this week has AndroidAuto and Apple CarPlay, which, as you probably know, pretty much just project the phone's menu onto the car's infotainment screen.

But Kia also has its own app called Uvo.

I downloaded Uvo onto my phone, made an account in about 15 seconds, plugged the phone into the car and suddenly I could do basic diagnostic checks, pinpoint the car's parking space, and mess with some other trivialities from my phone.

(Image Credit: Kia.com screengrab)

Logging into my account via Kia's website, I realised there are "achievements" you can "unlock" by driving efficiently or basically just using the software. Anyone who's played any video game since Halo came out will be familiar with this concept.

Digging into the Uvo interface a little deeper I realised I could also set curfew alerts, geographic alerts, and check up on how hard the car's been driven with an online dashboard that looks like the performance reports we study about our readership traffic.

It's even got a little illustration of the car in the correct colour! Now how do you think I can get that extra point added to the driving score?

(Image Credit: Kia.com screengrab)

The concept seems fun and useful -- two great qualities in any automotive feature. Whether or not it actually gets used is another question. And if it's interesting enough to get you to buy one car over another, well, that's what I'd like to hear from you.

WATCH MORE: Car News


Comments

    I mean I'm pretty happy with a good quality Bluetooth connection that allows me to use the phone AI to do everything instead of some god awful auto manufacturer overlay that was outdated before it hit market hijacking it.

    If you're going to give us something, just give us carplay / android auto.

    I was adamant that i wanted Apple CarPlay in my next car, but decided that the Mazda 6 was my preferred car and it does not come with either. I was pretty bummed that it was not in there, maybe next time! Also, i have used it a few times, it's good, but not decision making.

    I have the 2016 Elantra with Android auto.. it's amazing and I chose the lower model just for it.. the elite has their own built in GPS etc

    Up to date maps and traffic on Google maps, Spotify, text to speech and vice versa. It's so great I wouldn't go back

    Just downsized from 2-cars to one, and Wifey made the executive decision to buy a Jaguar F-Pace. Nice drive, but no Carplay.

    For that amount of money, I was a bit bummed to only get their InControl system and the dedicated Jaguar App. - apparently, no Carplay update on the horizon either.

    What is it with car manufacturers? Generally, they deliver in-car entertainment systems with a crap UX, then fail to update it.

    I want a tesla that I can summon from my phone! I want to be able to use my phone as the key and be able to cool the car down before I get in it... yes I want an app.

      Viper has a cheapish system for the key/aircon aspect of your request.

    I guess I'm old school. I don't care whether the car has apps or even if it can talk to my phone. If I can put my phone in a cradle and use it's features (maps) it's not that big a deal. That said, it'd be nice to be able to play music directly from the phone through the car speakers but that's still doable using the cradle and blue tooth so *shrugs* not worried.

    I can however, see some uses for more advances setups. Especially if you have kids driving the car. I could see an app that monitors driving behaviour being very useful. But it also kicks up some privacy and trust questions.

    I'd be a bit worried about going too far with connectivity in the cars too. A phone app that shows where you parked sounds good, and pairing it so you can use the phone as a key sounds useful. But it also becomes a security risk if clever hackers can beat it. They can wander round a carpark find cars and unlock them without keys.

    The car rental market is going to hate this even more than they hate the current crop of cars.

    I can't put my finger on the report but there was a gem reporting customers were irate that cars couldn't be simpler and how they were requesting older cars in preference to new ones. I imagine this would be similar to situations where you have to borrow a car in an emergency.. and can't find where in that particular cars menu one needs to go to change the aircon settings Kinda like when Windows maintained continuity and then individual programmers decided to deviate from this and create menu hell where you have to dig around through menus to find and alter settings that could just as easily have retained standardization.

    I guess I'm old school.May I join your club? :)

    I far prefer NOT being locked into a car manufacturer's idea of what's hot/cool in the way of dashboard UI, GPS, etc. A BMW-owning friend was quoted $300+ recently to upgrade the maps in his GPS. It seems all they did was swap the CD in the boot. My stick-on Garmin works just as well and has free updates.

    I find I get all the diagnostic info I want via a OBD II/CAN Bus Bluetooth adaptor to my phone and a great app called Torque. As for audio, I still use either a 3.5mm cable from the phone to the car stereo, or for a really long trip, a pre-loaded USB stick.

      Same price to upgrade the maps in my 6yo PooJamma, and it's also just the CD, with a 6yo interface. Also, the propriety system Mitsubishi uses can't be upgraded (as in I cannot put a 2016 mitsubishi head unit into my 2010 vehicle, which is one of the more stupid things I have ever encountered... I can put a third party head unit in but the dongles etc required to make it all function with the factory speakers and amp (rockford Acoustic) are just shy of $1000, plus the head unit, plus the labour... All for CarPlay...

    Biggest issue with phone apps in cars is that cars last years, decades, how long does a phone eco system seems to stay standard?

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