Flyme Auto: The new kid on the block, eclipsing Android and CarPlay

The new system, called Flyme Auto, allows for a whole new driving experience as it fully syncronizes the mobile phone and the car.

While many see it as an alternative to Android Auto and CarPlay, it is much more than that. Designed to be deeply integrated into the vehicle, Flyme Auto has features not even found on Android Automotive and the new generation of CarPlay are available.

Compared to its competitors, Flyme Auto is said to be significantly more dynamic. As such, it offers advanced customization options, including a live desktop.

Photo: Meizu

This means you can set anything as your background, from a typical wallpaper to real-world information. For example, the live weather conditions could be used as a dynamic wallpaper on the screen. Information such as the current battery level and tire pressure would be displayed in widgets over the background.

The live desktop feature can adapt to the current time of day or weather conditions. Similar to macOS dynamic wallpaper, for example, it can use a dark mode at night. When it starts to rain, the background may change from a sunny image to reflect current conditions.

The main screen, called the desktop at Meizu, can also play other roles. For example, it can display relaxing images while the system also plays soothing sounds. The experience can be activated when you are parked, e.g. B. when charging the battery. The interface can extend to all displays in the car, including those integrated into the instrument panel.

Photo: Meizu

As a typical desktop, it also contains a so-called smart bar, similar to the taskbar on a Windows computer. It offers instant access to important vehicle functions such as climate control settings, but also to apps and vehicle information. It can display the current battery level, show the next turn for the navigation route, and control music playback.

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In some ways, this approach is similar to the Android Auto Coolwalk bar, which also uses dynamic configuration to display navigation information and music playback controls.

What makes it more of a full-fledged computer is the ability to have multiple apps on the screen at once. While Android Auto Coolwalk and the CarPlay dashboard already do this, Meizu is taking a much more advanced approach.

While navigating, users can launch additional applications that run in special windows on the screen. They can be moved around the screen so they don’t get in the way of the information you think is most important. According to Meizu, video calls would also be allowed, but most likely they would only be supported when the vehicle is not moving.

Photo: Meizu

Speaking of video calls, the connection between the phone and the vehicle also allows the infotainment unit to take advantage of certain capabilities of the mobile device. For example, the phone’s camera can be used for video content during meetings, with the content then being displayed on the main screen in the booth.

Gaming is another integral part of Flyme Auto. The system can run games on the display, and the phone plays the role of a wireless controller. Sound is routed to the car’s speakers for a more immersive experience.

The operating system has a built-in digital assistant, and Meizu has developed AI-powered features for more natural conversations. Besides standard tasks like opening certain apps or setting the air conditioner, it also supports providing answers that look like ChatGPT inspired. The digital assistant could support the driver with information on how to change tires, adjust tire pressure or make appointments for regular car maintenance. Everything would be powered by voice commands.

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The integration between the phone and the car also enables roaming of applications across devices. If you’re listening to music when you get in, Flyme Auto will launch the audio application on the dashboard and pick up where you left off. The music listening experience is not interrupted, but seamlessly transferred to the car.

Photo: Meizu

The operating system looks very fluid and full of animations that transform its user interface into an aesthetically pleasing piece of software. The transition from one app to another, as well as the effects that come with adjusting settings such as B. the climate settings, make them look lively and modern.

Meizu is now part of Geely, the company that also owns Volvo. So don’t be too surprised if this operating system eventually finds its way to cars sold in Europe. Sure enough, the transition to Flyme Auto would take time and be quite challenging even for Volvo. At this point, both Volvo and its very own Polestar insist on Android Automotive, so it’ll be interesting to see if automakers eventually switch to Flyme Auto.