General Motors wants to replace Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with a new, more profitable infotainment system. Getting on board with Google, the Detroit automaker will install Android Automotive in its next-gen electric vehicles. The 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV will be the first car to follow this plan.
As free infotainment systems have become an obsolete option in the eyes of GM, it intends to make more money by offering a new alternative that is worth buying.
But the company surely doesn’t want to fail like BMW when it tried to charge its customers to use the old systems. So it will make sure that its new offering is compelling enough to attract paid subscriptions.
GM’s adoption of Android Automotive can be seen as a strategic move given the platform’s superiority to other automobile interfaces. It’s overall better and more capable, hence making it the right choice for future EVs.
Unlike its mobile app counterpart, Android Automotive is a full-stack operating system that runs directly on the car’s hardware. Yes, users don’t need to project it using their smartphones since it’s pre-installed and fully powers on the vehicle.
According to GM, its version of Android Automotive will pack driver assist tech that is closely integrated with the navigation system. It’s designed in such a way to spare owners the need to use a smartphone to access the feature.
The platform as a whole is independent, which is great since it will be easily accessible. The only drawback is that, however, it’s mostly not free. So you will need a subscription to activate features like Google Maps and Assistant.
With this kind of limitation in place, GM is literally cutting support to iPhone users for the sake of embracing Google services, which puts Apple at a disadvantage since it competes with the Big G in the infotainment systems market.
At the same time, this is also bad news for GM’s North American customers, most of whom use Apple’s iPhones. Now the type of smartphone doesn’t matter anymore, because the key to accessing the car fuctions will be an active OnStar Connected Vehicle plan.
Without the subscription, you won’t be able to use Google apps and services. What you get is just a bluetooth connection for making calls and playing audio files.
The decision to monetize the infotainment system came after after GM saw revenue opportunities in this area. The company is leveraging these opportunities to generate additional yearly revenue of from $20 to 25$ billion dollars by 2030.
GM is quite confident the strategy will work, despite the fact that forcing customers to pay for using in-car features hasn’t been a widely-accepted tradition before.
On top of that, the automaker offering a 8-year trial period of Google Maps and Assistant with a new EV purchase doesn’t seem aligned with its monetization plan.