Meizu's Flyme Auto looks seriously impressive at first glance.
Meizu, a technology and electronics firm based in China, has revealed Flyme Auto, which is a rival to well-known apps like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Based on first impressions, it seems that Flyme Auto has the potential to surpass the competitors mentioned above with a feature-rich interface that boasts functions that the other two can't match. For a start, Flyme Auto lets the user have several apps on the screen simultaneously. Apple and Android offer a similar ability, but Meizu has gone a step further.
When using the navigation system, for example, the driver can also use other apps displayed in separate windows on the touchscreen. These can be adjusted or moved across the screen so as not to distract from crucial information being displayed.
Users can also look forward to a digital assistant that should help them navigate through the tech-laden operating system. The digital assistant will help drivers who need to schedule vehicle maintenance or adjust the tire pressure. Barking commands at the system will feel more natural, thanks to an AI-style system that can converse with the driver.
General Motors is working on a similar setup and hopes to implement ChatGPT to assist customers in the future.
But how would this work? Unlike Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Flyme is fully connected to the vehicle and allows for seamless interactions between the two. This is seen in another nifty feature; if you're listening to music at home or while exercising, the app will automatically launch the media app once you're in the car and allow you to continue listening without interrupting your favorite tunes.
Flyme Auto also boasts features previously seen only on high-end luxury cars. The system can play relaxing sounds to calm you down during traffic and pairs this with soothing images. This can be extended to all the screens in the car, creating a harmonious experience for all passengers.
The graphics and visual capabilities are also worth mentioning. The live desktop considers the weather and time of day and adjusts itself to suit the outside conditions. Crisp graphics and cutting-edge animations provide an immersive experience and make Flyme Auto feel more like an OEM interface than an app.
Even though there are various safety concerns, it seems automakers are determined to make gaming a part of modern vehicles. Tesla already offers games in its cars, and BMW is working on something similar too. Not to be left out, Meizu has paid attention to games too.
If you're stuck waiting for somebody - or the car is charging its batteries - Flyme Auto can keep you entertained. The system can function as a gaming console, with passengers using their smartphones as a controller. Instead of listening through your small phone speaker, the sound effects are piped through the vehicle's sound system.
Another function that will come under scrutiny is the video call feature. Meizu has said Flyme Auto can answer video calls and even stream your camera feed should you have to join an impromptu remote work meeting. Hopefully, this won't work while the car is in motion.
Is there any chance this technology will make its way to US-spec cars? Yes, and it's bigger than you'd think. Meizu was purchased by Geely, a Chinese automotive company that owns Volvo, Polestar, and Lotus, among other brands.
Perhaps it won't happen immediately, but there's every chance the new Volvo EX90, for example, will eventually introduce this feature. For now, various Volvo and Polestar products use Google built-in software. Google built-in allows users to access things like Google Assistant, Maps, and Play. Naturally, Apple CarPlay also forms part of the package.
While we can't be sure, it's safe to assume Geely purchased the electronics company to create its own bespoke infotainment app. That will give tech-loving customers more reasons to buy one of its products. It will be interesting to see when this tech makes its way to road cars and whether it will be available in the United States.
All we know is that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will get the necessary updates to remain appealing alongside this new challenger.
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