(Pocket-lint) - Forget about fancy infotainment systems like Android Auto.
There's this Android app called Drivemode, and it basically let's you use your phone while driving, which sounds like a bad thing, but it's designed to keep your eyes on the road as much as possible. It works with your other installed apps to play your music and surface relevant information. For instance, it'll look at your calendar to see if you're going somewhere at a certain time, and then it'll give you directions to that place.
The app is controlled with a bunch of easy gestures and swipes, so you don't have to spend too much time tapping around the app itself. Honda was apparently impressed with the whole idea, because it's made an entire concept car meant to showcase the potential capabilities of Drivemode and more. With Drivemode loaded onto your phone, you could plug it into this car and make your phone double as a head unit. Seriously.
It's similar to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay - but they run on your car's existing head unit. With Honda's concept car, your phone serves as the infotainment hardware, while Drivemode is the software. In fact the Android app in this instance can display your speedometer and navigation as well as your music apps, incoming calls, messages, and more. It even offers voice search support and full steering wheel controls.
The buttons on the car's wheel - which usually control the radio - now control the Drivemode app. Drivemode still presents a clean interface with large buttons and easy-to-read text so that you can reach up and swipe away without any issues.
Unfortunately, both Honda and Drivemode have said this concept car is years away from becoming an actual thing. It's just meant to showcase what is possible and in the works. Also, it could fill a gap: lower-end vehicles likely won't ever work with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, but this affordable setup would provide a similar experience.