2024 Will Be the Year of Android, So What Does This Mean for Android Auto and CarPlay?

Android vs. CarPlay, this time in the car 10 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
CarPlay 2.0 in PorscheCarPlay 2.0 in Aston MartinCarPlay wallpaperAndroid Auto wallpapersCarPlay wallpaperNew wallpaper enabled with CanvasNew wallpaper enabled with CanvasNew wallpaper enabled with CanvasCarPlay 2.0 in Porsche
Microsoft waving goodbye to the mobile operating system world and retiring Windows Mobile left us with two big names controlling the market. Android and iOS command the mobile race, so customers considering a new phone must choose between the two.
The Android device ecosystem comprises several big names, starting with leader Samsung and continuing with other big names like Xiaomi and Google, while Apple is alone in this fight. Even so, Apple has done a tremendous job keeping up with Android sales, so it's often the number one or the runner-up in the mobile race.

However, new IDC data shows that 2024 will be the year of Android.

The latest statistics show that Apple has already lost 10% in smartphone sales in the last quarter, with the company struggling in China due to factors like nationalism and increased competition. This means that Chinese buyers no longer get an iPhone because they want to support domestic brands, but also because Apple's rivals already offer solid products.

CarPlay 2\.0 in Porsche
Photo: Porsche
Samsung's market share last quarter was 20.8% thanks to 60.1 million smartphones sold to customers worldwide, while Apple was the runner-up with 17.3% and 50.1 million units. Xiaomi was third with 14.1%.

IDC's numbers suggest Android will dominate the mobile space this year, as Google's operating system will "grow at twice the pace of iOS." One of the reasons is that iPhones have dominated the battle in the last few years, so Android now has more room to grow and regain lost market share points.

The mobile market is already saturated, and considering everybody has a phone, the growing sales of one or another revolve around the transition happening between the two platforms. Android users switch to iPhones, and iOS users switch to Android, so the increasing market share comes down to each company's ability to convince the other side to join it.

CarPlay 2\.0 in Aston Martin
Photo: Aston Martin
With Android adoption expected to skyrocket this year, what does this mean for Android Auto and CarPlay?

This could be a fantastic opportunity for Android Auto to grow unless Apple acts urgently. And the iPhone maker can't afford not to, as its strategy has already hit a roadblock on multiple fronts.

Apple recently abandoned the Apple Car, giving up on a project that received $10 billion throughout nearly one decade of hard work behind closed doors. With the Apple Car abandoned, Apple's only way to expand in the automotive space is software. Apple's car software comprises Apple Maps and CarPlay, with the latter powered directly by an iPhone, similar to Android Auto and an Android device.

Apple has long bragged about high CarPlay adoption numbers, claiming customers now consider its system a must-have feature on new cars. It says nearly 80% of new-car buyers in the US want CarPlay. Otherwise, they are ready to switch models or brands until they find one with CarPlay.

CarPlay wallpaper
Photo: Packix
However, the same reasons that impacted its sales in China could also impact its sales worldwide. The increased competition, with more Android devices offering innovative capabilities, could hurt Apple in all markets, eventually impacting CarPlay adoption.

Apple still hopes CarPlay will remain a catalyst for people to join its ecosystem. However, CarPlay feels outdated, as it barely received updates in the last couple of years. A new-generation version is already on the radar, but it'll require new hardware (a new car), and its adoption is significantly below expectations. Only two carmakers confirmed the adoption of CarPlay 2.0 despite Apple announcing it two years ago.

With 2024 becoming the year of Android, Google should be more committed than ever to improving Android Auto. It's no secret that Apple users are very loyal to the brand, so convincing a CarPlay user to switch to Android Auto will be difficult. Google must find a way to highlight Android Auto's main capabilities, improve its reliability, and demonstrate to CarPlay users that its software is at least as straightforward as Apple's in-car experience.

Android Auto wallpapers
Photo: AndroidCentral
Unfortunately, Google and Apple do not share the adoption numbers for Android Auto and CarPlay. The battle behind the wheel is getting fiercer as the two tech giants want to expand beyond the traditional markets and conquer the automotive space. Android Auto and CarPlay are key offerings in the long term, so their adoption is strongly tied to the adoption of the operating systems powering them.

Apple shouldn't ignore competition coming from China. Samsung dominates the mobile space, but companies like Xiaomi and OPPO keep gaining market share in the domestic and international markets. Huawei is also recovering, and considering its automotive products, as the company already offers advanced software for several new-generation models in China, it could become a fierce rival again.

The upcoming WWDC developer event in June will be an excellent opportunity to get a glimpse into Apple's long-term automotive ambitions, but with 2024 becoming the year of Android, Android Auto is no longer just an alternative but a fully featured (and very compelling) rival.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories