GM To Block Apple CarPlay in Its Future EVs To Sell Subscriptions With Help From Google

GM to block Apple CarPlay in its future EVs 8 photos
Photo: GMC | Edited
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General Motors intends to phase out Opel CarPlay and Android Auto in favor of a built-in infotainment system that would allow it to earn more money. The Detroit carmaker partnered with Google to implement Android Automotive in its future EVs starting with the 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV.
The days of infotainment freeriding are over, at least with General Motors and its future electric vehicles. No matter how crappy a car interface was, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were there to help make it bearable and offer the functions we need in a car: music streaming, navigation, and voice commands that actually work. The best thing is that support for these interfaces is free with most car models, although BMW tried, but failed, to charge its customers to use them.

Those days are about to end, as GM wants to make more money from subscriptions, and the infotainment system seemed a good place to start. GM will adopt Android Automotive, an operating system already onboard GMC Hummer EV, for its future EVs. This might sound like a positive move, considering that Google's automotive OS is quite capable and better than most proprietary car interfaces out there.

At least GM frames it like that, saying that the driver assistance features it plans for future models are tightly integrated with the navigation system. "We don't want to design these features in a way that are dependent on a person having a cellphone," Mike Himche, GM executive director of digital cockpit experience, said in an interview with Reuters. The downside is that most features offered with Android Automotive, including Google Maps and Google Assistant, require a subscription.

Owners using an Apple phone are left in the dark out of love for Google. This is a blow for Apple, which competes with Google in the automotive landscape. And it's a blow to GM customers in North America too, as most of them use Apple phones. No matter what phone you use, you'd still need an active OnStar Connected Vehicle subscription to use the functions you were used to, including Google Maps and music streaming. If you don't pay the subscription, you're left with an antiquated Bluetooth connection to listen to music and make phone calls in your car.

The reason was revealed in the same interview by Edward Kummer, GM's chief digital officer. "We do believe there are subscription revenue opportunities for us," he said bluntly. GM aims to make $20 to $25 billion a year from subscriptions by 2030, and he thinks the new strategy helps. I wouldn't be so sure. Cutting users' options and forcing them to use an old radio with a fancy screen or pay a subscription hasn't resonated very well with people in the past.

GM says it would offer access to Google Maps and Google Assistant at no extra cost for eight years with the purchase of a new vehicle. That would be a good move, but this doesn't sound like the money machine GM is talking about. I'd love to know your opinion on this, so head to the Comments section below and make your voice heard.
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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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