GM's new decision faced intense criticism in the last couple of months. Still, the carmaker has a good reason for installing Android Automotive in its cars (not for blocking Android Auto and CarPlay, but more on this later). Speaking recently on the sideline of the Cadillac IQ launch event, GM representatives explained that CarPlay and Android Auto couldn't read more advanced vehicle data and present it to the driver.
General Motors wants its infotainment system to deliver EV-specific functionality. Google Maps on Android Automotive can read the battery level and automatically suggest charging stops for reaching a destination safely.
Android Auto and CarPlay cannot access vehicle data because a mobile device powers the experience. Some carmakers, such as Porsche, have found other ways to deliver such functionality to drivers, pairing their companion apps (which connect directly to vehicles) with CarPlay to access EV-related information.
Google's reasoning makes sense considering Android Automotive is the more convenient solution to this problem, but blocking Android Auto and CarPlay continues is still unjustified. Android Automotive powers the entire infotainment system in GM's EVs. As a result, it can also support Android Auto and CarPlay as long as the carmaker wants to offer these features.
For example, Polestar already added CarPlay support in its Android Automotive-powered vehicles, so GM has the technical support to do this. The carmaker could still change its mind in the future. Still, I don't expect this to happen because Android Automotive fuels its strategy of turning infotainment into a money-making machine.
General Motors eventually wants to start charging for specific infotainment capabilities and sticking with Android Auto and CarPlay wouldn't allow the company to do this. GM also receives more data from Android Automotive, including localization, so serving ads in navigation could also become a revenue source in the long term.
The transition to Android Automotive takes place gradually, with GM explaining that only new EVs would run the operating system and block Android Auto and CarPlay. The existing models where phone projection systems are already available are not subject to this strategy, but all future EVs will migrate to Android Automotive when they launch. GM plans to switch entirely to a zero-emission lineup by 2035, so it's a matter of time until the company completely abandons Android Auto and CarPlay. Unless its strategy doesn't work as planned, that is, as GM has the technical support for adding the two systems at any moment if its Android Automotive-powered strategy fails.