Auto Tech

Hyundai's Android Wear and Apple Watch apps start cars and unlock doors

Think watch-controlled cars are a thing of the future? Not so. Hyundai hopes to add support for Android Wear and the Apple Watch before the year is through.

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LAS VEGAS -- There are plenty of major trends to be found at the International CES 2015, but on the automotive side of the house, there's one clear winner: smartwatches. Yes, every automaker here seems to be doing something with the things, desperate to get ahead of the wearable-industry momentum that, honestly, hasn't really formed just yet.

But it will, and when it does, Hyundai will be ready. The company is demonstrating Blue Link for Android Wear at the show this year. It's an extension to the company's current Blue Link mobile apps, which today let subscribers to Hyundai's service control their car remotely. No, not driving -- at least not yet. However, you can use the app to remotely flash the car's lights in a parking lot, unlock the doors and even start it from afar.

Soon, that same functionality is coming to your wrist. I got to sample an early version of the Android Wear app, which provides all that functionality, plus the ability to say "OK Google, start my car." Yes, you can start your car with your voice through your watch. Welcome to the future.

You will need to enter in a four-digit PIN, so there's a bit of extra security involved. It may require a bit of patience, too. Commands are sent through your phone up to the cloud, then back down to the car again. In our tests this process took up to about 30 seconds, but hopefully when you're on a network that's less jammed than those here in Vegas, it'll take less time.

The Android Wear version is set to ship sometime in the first quarter of this year. The Apple Watch version shouldn't be far behind, with the hope to ship this spring -- soon after the watch itself does.