Honda May Let You Update Your Car To Add Wireless CarPlay And Android Auto

Illustration for article titled Honda May Let You Update Your Car To Add Wireless CarPlay And Android Auto
Image: Honda

If you own a Honda produced within the last several years and wish you could enjoy the wireless CarPlay or Android Auto experience newer models have, you may be in luck. The company is reaching out to customers to gauge interest in optional upgrades that would add wireless phone projection capabilities to existing cars on the road.

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One such owner of a 2018 Accord took to Reddit to share their story. The individual says Honda sent them a survey, mentioning that wireless CarPlay and Android Auto is a feature present in the 2021 Accord, while noting that the technology “could be made available” through a software update to an older model’s infotainment system, provided it already supports CarPlay and Android Auto in wired form and packs the necessary hardware.

The survey reportedly goes on to ask the customer how interested they are in such an upgrade, and offers several options as to how the software could be installed. Honda is apparently considering sending owners a flash drive containing the update, or offering the software for download from its website. Those who’d rather not do it themselves could go to a dealer service department.

As the individual notes, it appears all of these methods would cost money, though Honda is trying to determine what folks are willing to pay. From the Reddit post:

They were fishing for acceptable pricing in the survey — which seemed to be around $50 for the wireless AA/CarPlay upgrade, and $150-200 for wireless AA/CarPlay plus a Qi charger upgrade.

We reached out to Honda for a statement, and a spokesman said only “at this point we are gauging customer interest.”

While I’m not sure how I feel about Honda charging for a downloadable update that would ordinarily be free, the fact the company seems willing to add wireless CarPlay and Android Auto to slightly out-of-date cars in the first place is commendable.

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Many manufacturers simply aren’t going to the same trouble, even if their vehicles have the necessary chipsets and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios to make wireless projection a cinch. GM, for example, has apparently rejected the idea, with one of the company’s spokesmen telling GM Authority that “vehicles are either sold with wireless [Android Auto or Apple CarPlay] or don’t have it. We have no formal plan for a paid or unpaid update.”

It’s also refreshing to see Honda is considering going the extra mile to provide Qi charger installation for an added fee, for the owners that want it. Wireless charging is the perfect complement to wireless CarPlay or Android Auto, as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can siphon a lot of a phone’s battery on long drives if the device isn’t being charged.

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Technology in cars is a touchy subject among enthusiasts, but CarPlay and Android Auto are modern conveniences I wouldn’t trade for the world. They’re brilliantly simple solutions that allow you to take the media, apps and contacts you need on the road with you, no matter whether you’re driving your own vehicle or a rental.

Unlike built-in infotainment software, Apple and Google’s platforms are regularly updated with new interfaces and features, along with necessary bug fixes. They keep an aspect of your car fresh and new, even if the vehicle itself isn’t. And they’re certainly more user friendly than the dated and clunky software many carmakers insist on using. Here’s hoping Honda chooses to go through with this initiative, and its competitors do the same.

Staff Writer at Jalopnik. 2017 Fiesta ST. Wishes NASCAR was more like Daytona USA.

DISCUSSION

I think I’m in for the $50. I have a 2019 Honda Passport. I have the wireless charger. But it is of no value when I have to plug in my phone via USB anyway for Carplay.

I get that this is or could be free. But if the $50 became something even less if you’re DIYing it to cover some form of initial development costs, I’m OK there.