By Joe Bruzek on August 29, 2014
When it came time to first plug my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone into Cars.com's 2014 Chevrolet Impala long-term test car's USB port, the dreaded "Device not supported" message showed up. As a non-iPhone user, it's a message I'm accustomed to seeing in the various new cars we test. For this reason I keep an iPhone in tow to get the full USB experience of voice commands and navigating a music library via in-car controls when my phone doesn't play nice.
Related: More Long-Term Test Car Coverage
That may change in the future with the Open Automotive Alliance, including General Motors, bringing Android tech into cars with Android Auto, but for now I popped a few questions over to Chevrolet's customer service to see if it was my phone or if MyLink needed updating.
Impala's MyLink USB connectivity only supports Apple iOS devices.
It was a somewhat strange answer considering that various phone and car forums show some people have made the system work with their Android phones, plus I've had success in other Chevrolet cars. After digging a little deeper, Chevrolet spokesman Fred Ligouri says Android-tethered USB phone compatibility does exist for some devices.
From our conversation with Ligouri, the Chevrolet team has already implemented limited Android USB compatibility into MyLink systems and continues to make progress integrating more. For smartphones where USB compatibility doesn't exist, Bluetooth streaming audio is a sufficient workaround in the Impala with its ability to stream music and use the Impala's Pandora app when there isn't full USB connectivity.
"While there are some different communication protocols for Android devices affecting the tethered compatibility to MyLink, there's the ability to pair via Bluetooth for similar music streaming and phone functionality on most [Android] devices," says Ligouri.
We'd love to tell you which Android phones have USB compatibility with the Impala's MyLink, but procuring a compatibility chart is proving difficult. Another editor's Galaxy S5 encountered the same limitations as my S3. The easiest way Android users can check USB functions is to bring a USB cable along on a test drive of a MyLink-equipped vehicle. Those who come up empty-handed can check car and phone Bluetooth compatibility for a General Motors' vehicle here.
Cars.com photos by Evan Sears
Road Test Editor Joe Bruzek covers Cars.com’s short-and long-term fleet of test cars and drives a 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. Email Joe