Automakers have never made decent infotainment systems for their cars. Toyota tried forcing its own navigation and entertainment system on buyers some eight years ago and had to relent after two years. Now, GM is planning to drop Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in its electric vehicles, partly because they believe it will be too confusing for salespeople to explain how to use the apps. Seriously? Maybe they should train their sales reps beter.
According to reports on a recent survey by J.D. Power, only 56 percent of owners prefer to use their vehicle’s built-in system to play audio. That’s down from 70 percent in 2020. Less than half of owners said they like using their car’s native controls for navigation, voice recognition, or to make phone calls.
That makes a lot of sense to us and likely to you. Our clients are relatively comfortable with technology and have spent years compiling your music lists, contact lists, and key addresses for destinations. You travel a lot, which means you rent cars. Why would you ever want something that’s not portable? Additional surveys back up that point.
Car manufacturers have been notoriously awful in creating the technology that mirrors what we have on our phones. But it seems like people are warming up to systems developed by Google. JD Power found that models with Android Automotive with Google Automotive’s operating system, AAOS, “score higher in the infotainment category than those with no AAOS whatsoever.”
However, AAOS without Google Automotive Services (GAS) receives the lowest scores for infotainment. GAS refers to all the apps and services that come with the car when Google is built into the vehicle — also known as “Google built-in.” Ford, GM, and Volvo have said they will use GAS for their current and upcoming vehicles. Some Stellantis vehicles use Android Automotive but partner with other tech companies, such as Amazon for their app services.
That should make GM happy after deciding to block access to CarPlay and Android Auto in favor of a native Google infotainment system. If people like cars with GAS, or Google built-in, it could influence a buying decision.
Still, we would prefer to have the choice of using our cell phones for our music playlists and for driving directions. Our phones work better and can be updated more often and more efficiently. For us, the jury is still out, although two things could change our minds:
- Will infotainment software updates be included in regular updates from the auto manufacturer – or updated on the fly?
- Will the auto manufacturers provide connectivity where there’s no cellular service?
If you’re considering an EV that won’t accommodate CarPlay or Android Automotive, we can discuss the pros and cons of the decision. We can also help you set up Apple CarPlay or Android Automotive with your new or existing vehicles – EV, hybrids, or gas-powered. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us for an appointment.