Apple boasted that vehicles from Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz to Volvo will premiere CarPlay this week in Geneva. Apple added that additional manufacturers bringing CarPlay to their drivers down the road include BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki, and Toyota.
However, a fair number of car companies listed above as CarPlay supporters are also members of the Open Automotive Alliance – launched at the International CES in January – designed to bringing the Android platform to cars starting in 2014.
Asked about Apple’s CarPlay, Roger Lanctot, associate director for global automotive practice at Strategy Analytics, told us, “This is the first integration which actually requires some iOS code in the car – but not the OS. Lanctot predicted that carmakers ultimately “will support any and all available smartphone integration.”
The situation automakers now face, however, looks pretty chaotic. Calling the current confusion in automotive apps development activities “an unfortunate transitional phase,” Lanctot explained, “The next step will be single platforms that support all smartphones in a consistent way.”
Asked about examples of “works-with-all-platforms,” Lanctot listed initiatives that include OpenCar, MyLink, SYNC, Airbiquity, and Abalta.
IHS Juliussen agreed that OpenCar might be a good place to start, in terms of creating a unified platform that can work with all smartphone apps. In fact, according the OpenCar website touts itself as “the next-generation application platform to bridge the automotive and mobile App ecosystems.” The website described OpenCar’s vision for the connected car as offering “applications that make smartphones irrelevant to drivers when they’re behind the wheel.”
But as long as every smartphone platform is jockeying to create a dashboard beachhead and carmakers are going along, the Apple vs. Google in-vehicle apps battle will not go away any time soon, leaving a smartphone integration SNAFU for apps developers, carmakers, and drivers.
— Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times