LAS VEGAS — It might be time to toss out your key fob. With Hyundai's new Blue Link app for Android Wear, users can unlock doors and start their cars remotely from their smartwatches.
Hyundai's new app for Android Wear, which was debuted at CES 2015, makes smartwatches a super-convenient way to control your car. There's no need to fumble for keys or reach for a phone when you can just use a device already on your wrist.
Hyundai didn't want to overwhelm users, so it kept the list of Android Wear commands to a minimum. From your smartwatch, you can start and stop a car remotely, lock and unlock the doors, honk the horn, flash the headlights, use GPS to locate the car and call for Blue Link or roadside assistance.
By letting a wrist-mounted Android Wear smartwatch control many everyday chores, Hyundai frees up your phone for more important tasks, such as searching for points of interest or making route adjustments. Hyundai also sees its smartwatch app as a way to add features to existing cars; the app works with all Blue Link vehicles, dating back to the 2012 Hyundai Sonata.
Users can select options using a smartwatch's touch display, or hit the microphone button to activate voice control. The app sends commands over a Bluetooth connection from the watch to your phone. Command are then sent from the phone up to Hyundai's cloud servers, which in turn beam the commands back down to your car over its Verizon 4G connection.
This process is both a blessing and a curse. To demonstrate the app in action, Hyundai representatives used both a Sony Smartwatch 3 and a Moto 360 to perform functions such flashing the lights and unlocking the doors on a nearby car.
In both cases, it took between five and 10 seconds for the car to respond, due to the lag. The benefit is that commands work anywhere there's cell service; even if you are on the opposite side of the country, you can still lock the doors.
The Android Wear Blue Link app will be available from Google Play sometime in Q1 2015. Future Apple Watch owners need not worry about being left out, as Hyundai has begun development of an Apple Watch app as well.
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