Will Toyota finally cave to buyer demand and offer Android Auto?

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback
Toyota

For years, Toyota cited legitimate safety and privacy concerns as reasons not to offer its cars with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. It took its first step toward letting the two tech giants into its dashboards when it added CarPlay to some of its models — including the all-new 2019 Avalon and Rav4— in January 2018. But it looks like it will soon open the door to Google, according to a recent report.

Insiders familiar with Toyota’s plans told Bloomberg that some of the firm’s models will gain Android Auto compatibility in the not-too-distant future. The sources asked to remain anonymous and stopped short of confirming which vehicle(s) will be the first to receive the software, or whether buyers will need to pay extra for it. Another source added Toyota could make a formal announcement in October 2018.

If the report is accurate, Toyota will finally cave to user demand and leave the shrinking list of Android Auto holdouts. Porsche and Bentley offer Apple CarPlay compatibility but have no plans to add Android Auto integration anytime soon for reasons similar to those stated by Toyota. Earlier in 2018, the Japanese firm explained that it’s not convinced Google does enough to protect user data and it’s not certain that Android Auto plays a significant role in reducing distracted driving.

Google hasn’t commented on the report. Contacted by Digital Trends, Toyota declined to confirm or deny it.

“We cannot confirm the media reports. We understand there is demand for Android Auto and we have not forgotten our Android customers,” a spokesperson told us via email. “If we offer this feature, or any other features, in the future, we will do so with confidence that consumer privacy and data security have been addressed to Toyota’s high standards,” the company added.

There’s no word yet on whether Lexus, Toyota’s luxury division, will offer Android Auto as well. Chad Deschenes, a product trainer at the Lexus College, told Digital Trends the company is open to offering the software sooner or later. He added Lexus is not currently planning on adding it. The company knows it’s a feature in hot demand but Deschenes pointed out a full 80 percent of Lexus owners own an Apple-powered device.

Mobile

A render video gives us a 360-degree look at the midrange Pixels

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 Lite XL.
Mobile

Android 9.0 updates to stretch into 2019 -- will your phone get a slice of Pie?

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Computing

Tired of paying a monthly fee for Word? The best Microsoft Office alternatives

Looking for a competent word processor that isn't Microsoft Word? Thankfully, the best alternatives to Microsoft Office offer robust features, expansive compatibility, and an all-too-familiar aesthetic. Here are our favorites.
Mobile

Google’s design elements may be coming to a lot more apps in the near future

Google's Flutter is now public, allowing developers to use the same code for both iOS and Android apps. It hopes to blow away the competition by offering better performance and robust design tools – which might mean you'll see a lot more…
Cars

Volkswagen may be planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car may head to the Nürburgring in 2019 for a lap-record attempt, according to a new report. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car.
Cars

600-hp, $155K Polestar 1 is the alluring Volvo coupe you’ve been waiting for

Volvo's return to the coupe segment just took an interesting turn: the model will join the Polestar lineup, and it will get a 600-hp plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Polestar 1 will be built in China starting in 2019.
Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Cars

The Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is the sexiest wagon ever

Aston Martin has revealed new photos of the limited-production Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake. The Vanquish Zagato line now includes the Shooting Brake, Coupe, Volante, and Speedster, each with bespoke styling.
Cars

Nissan and Italdesign’s GT-R50 concept will become a $1.1 million reality

The Nissan GT-R50 is a customized sports car built to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R and design firm Italdesign. Underneath the sleek bodywork sits a 710-horsepower engine fortified with race car components.
Cars

Ford’s new Shelby GT500 Mustang will have 3D-printed brake parts

Ford's new $45 million Advanced Manufacturing Center will focus on emerging technologies, including 3D printing. One of the staff's first jobs is to print parts for the 700-horsepower Shelby GT500 Mustang.
Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.
News

World’s fastest electric race car to display at Petersen Museum

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak race car smashed the all-time record at the hill climb for which it was named. The all-electric VW record-holder will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles until February 1, 2019.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

This freewheeling Army truck-turned-tiny home is a labor of love

Most tiny homes are models of efficiency but one British metal worker has redefined the idea, converting an old Army truck into a mobile tiny home that comes with a bed, a sofa, a shower, and a beer garden.