Apple has already started to make waves in the auto space with CarPlay, Google has the Open Automotive Alliance, but we're always interested in in-car systems which work with more than one mobile platform. In the case of Land Rover's InControl, that's exactly what we're looking at. It has a whiff of what makes CarPlay such an interesting idea in the car but doesn't isolate folks who're using an Android phone, too.
So far, InControl has been shown off in the 2015 Range Rover Evoque, but the same system will apply to selected other Land Rover and Jaguar vehicles through 2014. Essentially you plug your iPhone or Android phone in to the car and apps from the phone become available on the in-car system. The main difference to CarPlay is that the apps are curated by Land Rover and added through a 'control app' on the phone for use in the car.
The added bonus to the control app on the phone is that it presents remote information about the car to you without it even needing to be turned on. A couple of examples are the fuel level including remaining range and being told whether you've locked your expensive Range Rover or Jaguar. As someone who constantly frets about having locked the car, I like that. Oh and it can tell you where you parked. Because let's face it, we all forget. At least sometimes.
Land Rover has announced and shown off a few apps so far, including some communication types to help you conduct your business through the day, Sygic navigation, and media content from Stitcher and iHeartRadio. There are even apps to help you find somewhere to park and read your Twitter feed out loud to you as you drive. The apps are optimized for the in-car touchscreen, but in most cases seem to closely mimic their mobile equivalents. There's a bunch of others already announced, and the selection will surely increase in the future.
So, it's proprietary and curated by Land Rover, but that's not automatically a bad thing. The bigger picture is Android and iOS support. An even bigger picture would be Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10, too, but it looks to offer a solid experience without being exclusive to one mobile platform. And Land Rover should be commended for that.
Scroll a little further to see an official walkthrough video of InControl in action in the Range Rover Evoque. Given what we know so far about CarPlay and what we've seen here from Land Rover, which system do you like the look of more?
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