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.