German automobile manufacturer Porsche has embraced Apple’s CarPlay for its new 911 Carrera and 911 Carrera S. Google’s Android Auto, a direct competitor to CarPlay, was passed over. The reasoning behind Porsche’s decision has little to do with functionality, but a lot to do with data demands.
Android Auto’s agreement with Porsche would require the car manufacturer to send a profuse amount of data regarding the car’s internal processes. Examples of what Google would require include specifics on the throttle, coolant and oil temperatures, and current speed. In contrast, Apple’s solution for a connected car requires only one condition. CarPlay confirms that the vehicle is moving by checking with its powertrain control module.
Porsche’s decision not to include Android Auto in its latest vehicle signals that Google’s product is placing itself at a disadvantage by requiring auto manufacturers to provide such detailed information. Porsche felt that giving Google access to the information it was asking for would reveal much of what made a Porsche a Porsche, and that is something the company would rather keep to itself. Further complications arrive when Google’s self-driving car aspirations are considered. The information given to Google through Android Auto may be nothing more than technical variables necessary for the program to run, but handing over extensive minutiae may be too much to ask for. This is especially true when Apple’s CarPlay finds a way to make do. The smartphone manufacturer is also rumored to be assembling a vehicle of their own.
It seems that Google’s terms have been accepted by the maker of vehicles that do feature Android Auto, but it’s possible that Porsche may soon be only the first to have rejected Google’s car software. Having Android Auto in as many cars as Apple CarPlay is essential if Android as a whole is to be promoted. Allowing CarPlay to extend this lead may prove to become a disadvantage owning an Android powered smartphone would require. As humans in the 21st century, much of our time is spent in cars and having our cars support what has become the most personal of accessories is crucial.
Update: Google has reached out to us explaining what information they collect from cars for Android Auto, as well as why. You can read that full post here.