Apple or Google: What's on your dashboard?

"Until now, consumers didn’t need to care about what software was running in their car, but increasingly, they may."

From Christopher Mims' "The Next Big Battle Between Google and Apple Is for the Soul of Your Car" in Saturday's Wall Street Journal:

To date, Google has announced partnerships with nearly a dozen auto makers and auto-parts suppliers, including Stellantis, Honda, BMW, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi and General Motors’ GMC and Chevrolet brands. Other auto makers have announced they are using Android Automotive, which is open source, without entering partnerships with Google, including electric-vehicle startups like Lucid Motors.

Apple hasn’t announced an equivalent of Android Automotive—that is, software that auto makers can license to run on their vehicles, whether or not an iPhone is connected to them. And as with all its future plans, the company is very guarded about what it says publicly.

However, a demo of the next generation of its iPhone-mirroring CarPlay software in June at Apple’s developers conference, including renderings of the interface of a future vehicle, points to much deeper, and even perhaps Android Automotive-level integration with cars in the future. Some analysts have taken to calling Apple’s hypothetical future in-vehicle software “CarOS.”

Apple has announced more than a dozen launch partners for the next generation of CarPlay, starting with models that go on sale in 2023, including Volvo, Ford, Honda, Renault, Mercedes and Porsche.

My take: Google's got a head start, but Apple will do a better job and charge more.

10 Comments

  1. Paul Brindze said:
    Car makes hitching their next generation to Android will, in my opinion, be very sorry a few years from now.

    Driver Assist (aka “self driving”) will be a strong element in future auto sales. The cars that can eventually perform close to today’s Tesla will have a huge advantage.

    My bet for that would be on Apple … not Android. New car buyers are more upscale than used car buyers. Apple buyers are way more upscale than Android buyers … So…

    1
    October 2, 2022
  2. David Emery said:
    Android has both a time head-start and an association head-start. Android already has license agreements across a bunch of industries. That gives Android connections and experience negotiating licensing terms. Plus Android is likely less demanding as a licensor.

    When Apple signs its first auto maker, I’ll think differently… Until then, I’m not holding my breath for success here.

    3
    October 2, 2022
  3. John Butt said:
    Android allows manufacturers to monitor your car locations and usage then sell the data. Maybe similar to TV manufacturers using Android.

    That may have a bearing for a while.

    2
    October 2, 2022
  4. The software will only be really impressive when integrated with all the different parts suppliers and the car manufacturer’s systems. That will take time.
    I suspect this entire scenario will play out like it has with smartphone. Google will offer a free or less-expensive solution, in exchange for all the data: driving, GPS, hardware, and performance. Again selling every location we visit, ‘anonymized” so some data aggregator can resell it.
    Apple will emphasize privacy, performance, charge more and update their software regularly.
    I shopped for a new GMC recently and they were trying to sell me on factory-installed Android Automotive. I looked at Chevy’s and the Honda Ridgeline as well. Too new for me, I’ll drive an older model to avoid factory-installed Android open source software right now. I prefer my walled garden.

    4
    October 2, 2022
  5. Gregg Thurman said:
    How many times has Apple been first to market. Not many.

    Apple is prepared to get it right first, then incrementally garner share with an ever improving product that works as the consumer expects it to.

    I am not concerned at all about Android lead, for I know within 10 years from launch CarPlay will dominate (by customer choice, not price).

    3
    October 2, 2022
    • David Emery said:
      But for a car dealer, the transition from Android to CarPlay would be expensive and painful. Remember, here we are NOT talking about a consumer choice, but a manufacturer choice! That’s why Android’s advantage working with manufacturers is a very significant advantage, independent of the value of the product (Android Car/CarPlay.)

      What other Apple product requires integration with an OEM’s major end item under the control of, and marketed by, that OEM?

      1
      October 2, 2022
      • David Emery said:
        s/car dealer/car maker/

        0
        October 2, 2022
      • Gregg Thurman said:
        Remember, here we are NOT talking about a consumer choice, but a manufacturer choice!

        Ultimately manufacturers choose what the customer wants. Who here, on this forum, heard consumers are saying “no CarPlay”, no sale?”

        If a feature costs more, but results in a sale, raise the price to the customer. Besides, with CarPlay II I don’t think Apple is that far behind, especially in the US where iPhone share exceeds 50% (and growing).

        1
        October 2, 2022
  6. Will Grover said:
    The 2019 Toyota Tacoma not having Apple CarPlay was a one of a couple of key factors guiding my decision to purchase the Honda Ridgeline RTL-E instead. I can’t help but think going forward that this will guide my choice of vehicle as it relates to the dashboard OS. Must be others out there who think like me!

    4
    October 2, 2022

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