As iOS and Android smartphone integration begins to become standard on many cars and continues to grow, General Motors is announcing plans to remove those capabilities from its electric cars. CarPlay and Android Auto features will remain available on its internal combustion cars, but on electric cars it will use different software, developed in partnership with Google, that will no longer allow cars to connect in this way.
GM’s new electric cars will use new software developed in partnership with Google
The first car to ship with the new software will be the 2024 Chevrolet Blazer. It will be equipped with a new infotainment system that will use software developed by Google. Basically, you should have everything you need on board, from navigation apps to multimedia playback apps, without having to connect a smartphone for access, whether we’re talking about a wired or wireless connection.
While Android users probably won’t have a problem, as they’ll be able to connect their Google account for access to the company’s services, Apple users might miss out on Apple-exclusive services. For example, the phonebook, accessible via Siri, or even Apple Maps. In fact, lately Apple’s map service has started to become really competitive with Google Maps and similar solutions.
According to Mike Hichme, executive director of digital cockpit experience at GM, who told Reuters, this decision was made to ensure that all car functions are directly integrated into navigation systems, and should work independently of a smartphone:
“We have a lot of driver-assist features coming in the future that are better integrated with navigation. We don’t want to build these features in a way that makes it a condition that the driver has a smartphone.”
With closed software, General Motors hopes to increase subscription revenue
Of course, there’s also a monetization opportunity when you have full control over the software platform. General Motors’ electric cars will come with access to Google Maps and Google Assistant for eight years for free, and future models will integrate other apps like Spotify or Audible. These apps also pave the way for subscription revenue. The company’s current projections are that it will gross between $20 billion and $25 billion from subscriptions alone by 2030.
And those who want to listen to their own music on their phone or take calls will be able to do so on the new models, but only via Bluetooth connectivity. Somehow, it seems this solution is a step backwards from smartphone-integrated systems.