Google and Apple have been squaring off against one another for years of smartphone development and releases, but clearly they haven’t had enough of postulating to see who’s the best, as they’re going to be going head to head in the in-car info-tainment industry in the next few years too. Apple’s CarPlay system has just been released and Google’s alternative, Android Auto, isn’t far behind. However it seems there will be alternatives for car-makers than just these two systems, as GM has just announced its new infotainment system will run Android, but won’t be Android Auto.
This is all being put together by loose lipped Harman International, which is why we even know about this system in the first place. Apparently the car infotainment maker is developing an Android based system for new GM vehicles to be made available some time next year.
In a chat with Automotive News, Harman CEO Dinesh Paliwal said that his company was working closely with Google to develop the system. Presumably not too closely though, as Harmann was given a $900 million contract last year by GM to develop its infotainment system, so it clearly would want to differentiate it from Google’s main Android Auto offering.
Paliwal went on to say that GM would be the first automaker to debut vehicles using Harman’s new operating system, but suggested that other automotive manufacturers would likely adopt it in the future. He did add the caveat though, that they would need to do so a generation behind GM to respect the contract it has with the car maker.
The new system from Harman will be app focused, much like Apple and Google’s main offerings, though Paliwal didn’t go into detail about what sorts of apps we can expect on it: “This next-generation infotainment solution will enable an app store, which allows this infotainment system to stay technologically relevant over the life cycle of the vehicle. Apps will be developed by General Motors, Harman and a bunch of other third parties, not just Google and Apple.”
Presumably it will be much like CarPlay, including things like Spotify and Pandora, though we expect that more apps and new types of apps will be created by third party manufactures and made available once more heavily connected cars hit the streets over the next few years.
While Paliwal wouldn’t be drawn on which car models specifically would be supporting Harman’s new system, however it may be a case that all of them are made with the option of this bespoke system, as well as Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto systems, with the car maker simply allowing new car buyers to pick and choose their favourite at the point of purchase. It was previously stated that it will offer both systems in some form or another, so it may be a case that GM’s future vehicles will be made with a number of infotainment options in mind.