Exactly like its rivals from Apple and Google, Car Mode for Galaxy shows a simplified smartphone user interface on the car's dashboard screen, complete with large app icons for controlling music playback and searching for driving directions in a maps app. As revealed at the IFA event, taking place from 4-9 September 2015 in Berlin, the system also reads new texts messages to the driver out loud, just like the Ford Sync. Car Mode for Galaxy can be interacted with by tapping the car's touchscreen, pressing dashboard buttons or using buttons and controls on the steering wheel – basically, whatever control interface the car offers.
Samsung was somewhat vague on how Car Mode for Galaxy works, but said it uses the MirrorLink industry-standard technology, so its appearance on a wide range of cars and other vehicles shouldn't be too far away. Despite that, there will be no open app store like there is with Android Auto. The company said the system will work on a range of Galaxy devices, including the new Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, which goes on sale in Europe tomorrow (4 September).
There's no word yet on which manufacturers will be using Car Mode for Galaxy, or if Samsung has plucked any exclusive deals away from Apple and Google. But by using MirrorLink, it should at least give future car-buyers the freedom to choose whichever system they like.
VW app for Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch
Also announced by Samsung at the IFA is an app for its upcoming Gear S2 smartwatch that lets drivers of certain Volkswagen vehicles control some of the car's functions remotely. They can check if the doors are locked (then lock them if they are not), open or close the windows, and set the climate control so the cabin can be cooled or warmed before getting inside. These are all features used by the Tesla Model S's smartphone app, as well as by a number of recent BMWs.