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.