The long-term future of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in GM’s line-up is unclear, with the automaker announcing it will drop the smartphone mirroring tech from its next raft of EVs.
This change will take place gradually, starting with the Chevrolet Blazer EV, which will go into production later this year.
All of these electric vehicles will have infotainment systems running the Ultifi operating system that’s based on Android Automotive.
While Android Auto allows select apps, such as Google Maps or your favourite podcast app, to be run on a connected phone, and displayed on the car’s touchscreen, the similarly named Android Automotive is a software platform, based on Google’s smartphone operating system, that direct accesses Google’s technologies and can natively run Android apps.
Through the Play Store, supported apps can be downloaded and installed systems running Android Automotive.
GM says EVs without access to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will come with “standard connectivity that allows customers to access Google Maps and Google Assistant, at no additional cost, for eight years beginning at time of vehicle purchase”.
Mike Himche, executive director of digital cockpit experience for GM, told Reuters: “We have a lot of new driver assistance features coming that are more tightly coupled with navigation. We don’t want to design these features in a way that are dependent on person having a cellphone.”
Edward Kummer, GM’s chief digital officer, admitted to the newswire, “We do believe there are subscription revenue opportunities for us”.
GM CEO Mary Barra has previously stated the automaker is aiming to make between US$20 billion to US$25 billion ($30 billion to $37 billion) per year from digital subscriptions by 2030.
While mirroring will disappear from new EVs starting with the Blazer EV, there will still be Bluetooth smartphone connectivity, allowing owners and passengers to stream music or podcasts, as well as take and make calls.
Electric cars currently on sale today, as well as current and upcoming petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles, will still feature Android Auto and CarPlay.
Existing EVs, including the Cadillac Lyriq, Chevrolet Silverado EV, Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV, and GMC Hummer EV, will continue to be sold with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support for the time being.
GM also says that vehicles that have been sold with Apple CarPlay and/or Android Auto support will keep their smartphone mirroring abilities.