Porsche Adopts Android Automotive, New-Gen CarPlay Also Likely

Porsche is the next big name to adopt Android Automotive 8 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Porsche
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Porsche is the next big name to adopt Android Automotive, with the carmaker announcing that the first models running Google's operating system would hit the streets in 2025.
Android Automotive is Google's big bet in the car world, as it is an operating system benefiting from deeper integration into the vehicle.

Google's services, including Google Maps and Google Assistant, can read more vehicle data – for example, the navigation software can read the battery range and automatically suggest charging stops. Google Maps can also offer automatic reroutes when the range does not allow the vehicle to reach a user-defined destination.

Porsche is still a new player in the Android Auto world, but the company has been focusing heavily on CarPlay and Apple Maps integration lately. The German carmaker is one of the few companies to offer EV routing powered by Apple Maps, though for now, the feature is only available in the Porsche Taycan. The feature will expand to more models in the coming years.

Android Automotive vs. Android Auto

Porsche Cayenne S E\-Hybrid
Photo: Porsche
The main difference between Android Automotive and Android Auto is how they run. Android Auto runs all apps on a connected smartphone (wired or wireless), with the interface projected to the infotainment screen on the dashboard.

Android Automotive is a complete operating system running at the hardware level without a mobile phone. It powers all infotainment features, so its apps are directly linked with the vehicle systems, allowing for more advanced capabilities.

While Google's car strategy includes both products, Android Automotive is the long-term big bet for the search giant, especially as it offers access to what it values the most: data. The number of carmakers adopting Android Automotive keeps growing and already includes big names like Honda, General Motors, Volvo, and now Porsche.

Android Automotive in Porsche cars

Porsche Cayenne S E\-Hybrid
Photo: Porsche
Porsche's announcement doesn't include many specifics, but anyone reading between the lines can spot several key titbits.

First, the first Porsche car to run Android Automotive will land "in the middle of the decade." The carmaker did not unveil what model it picked to pioneer the introduction of Android Automotive on Porsche cars, but anything can change by 2025.

Second, Porsche will go for the complete package and also bring Google's Automotive Services to its cars. Android Automotive is available with and without GAS, with some carmakers, including BMW, refusing to add Google services to maintain control of the vehicle data. BMW believes that by using GAS, it would give in too much data to the search giant, so it'll adopt Android Auto with third-party software, including a different app store and Google Maps alternatives.

Porsche has already confirmed in the announcement (also embedded after the jump) that it'll use Google Maps, Google Assistant, and the Google Play Store.

Third, the German car manufacturer will retain the look of Porsche Communication Management (PCM) to provide drivers with a familiar experience.

Google allows Android Automotive adopters to customize the operating system interface to retain a signature look and the brand identity. Porsche will install Android Automotive with the familiar PCM interface, so drivers might not necessarily notice a significantly different experience at first.

Porsche Cayenne S E\-Hybrid
Photo: Porsche
Last but not least, Porsche also seems to leave the door open for bringing the next-generation CarPlay to its cars. The company says that "in the future, ecosystems from different providers that are relevant for customers will be integrated directly into the vehicle," confirming that the Android Automotive adoption doesn't mean the future of Porsche cars is exclusive to Google.

Apple has already promised a new-gen CarPlay experience, with the first models to run it expected to be announced by the end of the year. The new CarPlay will offer deeper vehicle integration, competing directly with Android Automotive using a similar strategy. CarPlay will also come pre-loaded with the vehicle and will no longer require a smartphone to run. It will also allow carmakers to customize the interface to retain the brand identity.

Apple announced the new CarPlay last year, promising to share more details, including the first models running it, by the end of 2023. Vehicles running CarPlay 2.0 are expected to become available in 2024. Meanwhile, Apple hasn't said a single thing about the updated car experience, but the official website still indicates that a 2023 announcement is on the table.

Porsche says that bringing Android Automotive to its cars is the first step in a strategy that comes down to providing customers with access to their favorite ecosystems. In other words, Porsche cars will be fitted with the systems requested by customers, so not going all-in on Android Automotive is the right choice in the long term.

It's unclear if Porsche wants to offer Android Auto and CarPlay support on models equipped with Android Automotive, but hopefully, the German brand won't embrace the same strategy as General Motors and block the two phone projection systems. GM says that sticking with Android Automotive exclusively is the only way to provide customers with updated capabilities.
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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.
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