This 2024 Car Proves Android Auto, CarPlay, and Android Automotive Get Along Nicely

2024 ZDX infotainment home screen 7 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Acura
2024 Acura ZDX Type S prototype2024 Acura ZDX Type S prototype2024 Acura ZDX Type S prototype2024 Acura ZDX Type S prototype2024 Acura ZDX Type S prototype2024 Acura ZDX Type S prototype
General Motors made the first page of newspapers not long ago with a very controversial decision. The company decided to go all-in on Android Automotive, starting with the 2024 Blazer EV, blocking Android Auto and CarPlay access.
While many claimed the company is only interested in obtaining full control of the infotainment system in order to pave the way for subscriptions, General Motors says it's just trying to provide drivers with an upgraded experience.

Sure enough, the upgraded experience behind the wheel should come down to letting drivers themselves choose what they want to use, but General Motors seemingly wants to demonstrate on every occasion that its long-term infotainment strategy is wrong on so many levels.

In the meantime, Acura decided to show GM how it's done. The 2024 ZDX, which is Acura's first EV, will be powered by Android Automotive, the same operating system that will be installed on the upcoming Blazer EV – as a side note, Android Automotive will look differently in all cars, as Google gives carmakers the necessary tools to customize the look and feel of the OS; this is primarily supposed to allow companies preserve their brand identities.

The 2024 ZDX will come with the full Android Automotive package, including deeper integration of Google Maps, Google Assistant, and everything else. Maps will keep an eye on the battery level and suggest charging stops whenever they are required to reach a destination. It can also help precondition the EV battery when heading to a DC Fast charging station, while Google Assistant can adjust the temperature in the cabin thanks to access to the climate controls.

While the big news is that the electric ZDX gets Android Automotive, I think the more important tidbit is that Acura isn't dropping Android Auto and CarPlay. The company will continue to offer wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility despite installing Android Automotive in the car, so users will be given the power to choose what they want to use when starting the engine.

In other words, if you're not a big fan of an embedded system and would rather stick with what you have on your phone, that's quite alright. Unlike GM, Acura will let you do this, proving to its American rival that Android Auto, CarPlay, and Android Automotive can get along nicely in any car out there.

The new ZDX will obviously support OTA software updates, and as a first for Acura, will be available online starting in early 2024. In other words, you'll be able to order the car just like you buy stuff from Amazon.

In the meantime, others (I'm looking at you, GM) still think they know what their customers want better than, well, their customers, but I guess it won't take too long to find out who's right and who isn't.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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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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