Remember how awful vehicle infotainment systems were before Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto? We’re hearing General Motors plans to ditch both systems on its upcoming electric vehicles, starting with the Chevy Blazer EV.
According to Reuters, GM’s vehicles will no longer offer smartphone projection, which is how owners can bypass the built-in infotainment system and run the apps and experiences provided by CarPlay or Android Auto.
Instead of being able to mirror your phone or its apps to the vehicle infotainment system, you’ll have to use whatever comes built-in. However, while this move sounds silly, it’s not as bad as you think. That’s because GM will use Google’s newer “Android Automotive OS” developed specifically for electric vehicles. While the name is confusing, Android Automotive is different from Android Auto.
Similar to how Samsung, OnePlus, LG, and others all sell their own phones running Android, upcoming electric vehicles will have their own software experience running Android Automotive. Carmakers can still tweak, tune, and change the interface and experience, and we’re seeing that already.
Volvo, Polestar, GM, Honda, and others all have vehicles running Android Automotive. It delivers much of the same experience as CarPlay or Andriod Auto. It also caters to vehicle-specific things like finding a nearby EV charging station in maps, integrating self-driving technologies, and more. Each automaker has a slightly different interface, as explained by Forbes.
However, we’re unsure how this will affect the millions of iPhone users. Sure, they’ll still be able to stream music and make calls, but it’ll vastly diminish the experience.
For what it’s worth, this is a similar move to what we’re seeing from Tesla and Rivian. Those vehicles don’t allow CarPlay or Android Auto and instead run a customized software experience designed for electric cars.
In closing, reports suggest those who buy a new GM EV will get Google Maps, Google Assistant, voice assistant commands, and more, free for eight years. Then, the company mentioned Spotify and other popular apps people use in vehicles would also be available.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like we all need to prepare to eventually pay for apps and monthly subscription services in our cars.