Fiat Chrysler, Ford Rolling Out Support for Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is introducing the next generation of its UConnect in-car entertainment (ICE) software at CES this year, and it includes support for both Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto. The move follows Ford's announcement that it too would support both platforms with its Sync 3 ICE platform.

The familiar Apple and Google systems will be mimicked on car screens, with voice commands available.

FCA says the CarPlay and Android Auto integration will come in its fourth generation 8.4-inch UConnect systems, as well as "select others" within the company's global portfolio. The carmaker will also roll out improvements for its infotainment systems like higher resolution and more vivid capacitive touchscreens which are quicker, and other performance enhancements.

The company says both smartphone systems will be available on some unspecified models worldwide starting later in 2016.

In addition to its Fiat and Chrysler vehicles, FCA also produces Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and Alfa Romeo cars.

Ford has also joined several other carmakers in adding CarPlay and Android Auto to its Sync touchscreen infotainment system. Additionally, the company plans to install a 4G LTE wireless connection to its vehicles starting with the 2017 model year.

Ford said on Monday that owners of Sync 3-equipped 2016 models in North America will get a chance to update their car infotainment system software later this year, and the systems will appear on all Sync-equipped 2017 models.

Initially, the wireless modem will let drivers find their cars in parking lots, unlock and start them from smart phones, and check the gas level and tyre pressure. While the car is moving, smartphones will still be needed for internet access. But spokesman Alan Hall said that, eventually, the modems will be available for use as wireless hot spots. He added that there won't be any recurring service fee for the first 5 years.

Ford also mentioned that the company will announce additional apps which will be compatible with Sync.

Carmakers have gradually been adding the Apple and Google systems to their infotainment systems, largely because customers want the screens to mimic their familiar smartphones and perform tasks the same way.

Toyota, though, has said that it has no plans yet to add Apple's or Google's system to its Toyota and Lexus infotainment services.

Meanwhile, Ford wouldn't comment on reports that it is all set to announce an autonomous car partnership with Google at the CES show in Las Vegas, but said that the automobile manufacturer will have an autonomous car announcement soon.

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