Some people listen to a local AM or FM radio station, while others use some electronic device to bring their digital music or podcast library with them on the go. If you’re the former, Automatica isn’t for you. If you’re the latter, like me, Automatica is positioned to help you get music into your car by leveraging the cloud.
The premise is simple - park your car in the garage and Automatica goes to work, downloading updates to your favorite podcasts and syncing music files with a cloud storage service like Dropbox. Hop in your car, turn the key, and all your stuff is there and accessible right through your car stereo without touching your phone or managing Bluetooth connections.
The Automatica device itself is a small, unobtrusive black box running Android that contains WiFi, a 1GHz ARM processor, 2GB of storage, and a USB connection. There’s a microSD slot on the side, where you can drop in additional storage (up to 64GB).
When plugged into your car’s USB port (assuming it has one, of course), your car stereo will see it as a simple USB storage device that you can navigate and play media from. What your car stereo doesn’t see is that the little Android powered box, when in proximity of a WiFi hotspot (that can be configured to use just your home network or any open hotspot it sees), will sync up with your Automatica online profile. You tell Automatica where in your cloud storage accounts it should look for media, and then it will sync that media to the device in your car. The service has integrated support for podcasts directly, so you can save your cloud storage for your own files.
It sounds heaven sent, but sadly, getting a great experience requires a few stars to align.