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AH Primetime: Google/Apple Will Challenge Auto Infotainment Systems

May 8, 2015 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Currently, every car maker has their own infotainment system. Most of them are proprietary. The most popular one is probably Ford’s Sync, but they aren’t the only ones. In the past year, Google and Apple have both announced – and are now available – their own infotainment systems for cars that run off of your smartphones. Obviously, we’ve only spend time with Android Auto, as we are an Android site, but it could and should replace these other infotainment systems. Many manufacturers in the Open Automotive Alliance have chosen to include Android Auto inside their own OS. For instance, the Hyundai Sonata we got hands on with has Hyundai’s proprietary infotainment system in there, and when you plug in your Android smartphone a button for Android Auto pops up. It’s similar to the Pioneer Android Auto head units as well.

That’s all fine and dandy, but Google and Apple want to be the only system in cars. Not be an after-thought from car makers such as GM, Ford, Chrysler, Hyundai, Audi and others. According to a report from the Business Insider, it appears that about 40 million cars will have Android Auto or Apple’s Carplay. It’s actually about 40 million for Android Auto and 37 million for Carplay. And this is slated for 2020, which is only about 5 years away. Unfortunately, that’s how long new tech takes to get into cars. There are tons of roadblocks there. Including safety regulations. And the fact that it takes much longer to build a car and bring it to market and sell it, than it does for a smartphone or tablet. Naturally.

Currently, only a select few have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay built into their car, and that’s mostly Hyundai owners, actually. While many others have bought after-market head units for their car, like myself. While adoption is going to take some time for both platforms. One thing is for sure, Android Auto provides a much better experience than anything these car makers could create. Not to mention it’s more or less the same experience as you get on your phone or smartwatch. Which is equally important for users.

The Connected Car, much like the Connected Home, is a pretty exciting market, and a thriving market. And it’s only going to continue to grow. There are nearly 100 members of the Open Automotive Alliance already, with plenty more joining. Which is a good thing for Android users.