Samsung Goes Full Throttle Towards Catching Up with Apple's CarPlay

By James O Malley on at

Today at IFA in Berlin Samsung has announced a new "Car Mode for Galaxy" app for its phones which will bring a number of the phone's apps to car dashboards, in a new partnership with BMW and Volkswagen.

The way it works will be similar to Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto: You plug your phone into the car via USB and the car's screen will transform into something not unlike your phone's screen. Samsung is using a version of MirrorLink technology to do it.

This said, like Apple and Google's solutions not all apps will be available: Samsung is keeping functionality relatively limited, which is probably a good thing given that you should be keeping your eyes on the road.

So you'll be able to GPS and maps through the new system, and control your music - but you'll have to wait until you've parked up and disconnected your phone if you want to play Candy Crush. You will, however, be able to take calls and send and receive messages using Samsung's S-Voice, which will read incoming messages to you and transcribe any messages that you wish to send.

The new collaboration with BMW will also see cars integrate with Samsung's increasingly-central SmartThings app for controlling IoT devices. Using the SmartThings app you'll be able to check your car's diagnostics, and even lock and unlock the car remotely.

Samsung says that the partnership also means integration with the clunkily named Volkswagen Car-Net e-Remote app, which let's you see where your car is parked on your smartwatch - as well as unlock or lock remotely using the watch too.

So over all, it appears that Samsung is diving deeper into automotive, which makes sense as it is one space that hasn't yet been dominated by Apple and Google. Given the company still ultimately relies on Android, it'll be interesting to see if it makes an impact.