When you buy an Android, you have a common operating system among dozens and dozens of manufacturers. If you buy an iPhone, your 13 Pro Max will have the same system as an old iPhone 7. But if you buy a car, you go on an adventure with the software. The infotainment system of vehicles has been advancing over the years, although dragging several problems with it.
The lack of updates by not going through the dealer, old interfaces that cannot be renewed or lack of basic functions as they do not work, most of them through apps. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay have served to solve these problems, Google going one step further. With Android Automotive they want to banish the car’s own infotainment systems, to turn towards a unified, upgradable and more complete system.
The popularity of Android Auto is a reflection of the current chaos
Android Auto, recently updated to version 7.5, accumulates more than one billion downloads in the Play Store. Except that there is a certain trap, since it comes pre-installed on Android mobiles, the popularity of the app reflects that Not a few users use Android Auto as an infotainment system. The same is applicable to iPhone users with CarPlay.
In addition to being an ecosystem rich in its own apps, with Android Auto we have the same interface in any car
The main advantage of using these systems is that they have a wider range of apps, constant updates (depending on the phone’s own updates) and interfaces according to the current year. In addition to this, the most important thing is that the interface is the same, whatever car you have.
The infotainment systems integrated into the car itself (as long as they are from a recent car) are usually complete in terms of personalization of its physical elements (interior LED lights, passenger compartment management, multimedia playback), but they lack an ecosystem of apps that allows us to choose which application we want to navigate with, from which one we want to listen to the radio or from any of its own functions that perhaps they have not wanted to implement, and that any direct competitor has included.
Bearing in mind that the European vehicle fleet is an average of 12 years old, it is most likely that our car either does not even have an infotainment system, or that the one it does have is quite old and with an outdated interface. needless to say each manufacturer assembles the processor they wantone more problem on the list, since depending on said chip the system will move better or worse.
The solution to this would be create a new ecosystem from scratch, that most cars mount it and that it is easily updated. Have Android in the factory car. Google is already at work.
The next step: Android Automotive
Android Automotive debuted in cars that are somewhat distant, such as the Polestar Precept, but it is already present in the new Renault Megane e-Tech and will be present in the entire Ford fleet in 2023. The idea is clear: create a standard infotainment systembased on Android, updatable via OTA and with the Google app ecosystem.
Manufacturers will be able to continue customizing their systems, but everything is unified, the app ecosystem is common and the user will have more possibilities
Each manufacturer can customize and adapt the interface (just as manufacturers do on Android), but the system is the same, the apps are the same and the operation is the same in all cars that implement it. A small utopia that depends on the manufacturer itself wanting to implement Android Automotive in the vehicle, since there are not a few who are reluctant to do so.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism