A recent article at MotorTrend gives us some more detail behind GM’s decision to abandon Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for future vehicles. The thinking? Basically that the connections keep dropping, leading to safety issues.
This is actually a problem I’ve experienced in my Bolt EUV, so I think GM is at least partially right. On some drives, the connection drops out and then I’m left with no Waze, music, or anything else. In many cases, the connection is restored in a few seconds, but in others, the connection cannot be restored. I’ve found that when that happens, it doesn’t come back until the car is completely turned off and allowed to sit for a couple minutes.
The obvious alternative is to use the cable instead of wireless Android Auto. So, instead of having a USB cable put away somewhere, I leave it plugged in all the time. If the connection bombs out, I can quickly have a passenger plug the phone in and continue using Waze and music on road trips. But, if I’m alone in the car or my passenger doesn’t feel like helping, I’m left with the need to plug it in myself while driving.
I don’t do that, because I’m not stupid, but I’d imagine that many people would. Grabbing a cable or messing with the phone directly isn’t a great idea, but people want that connectivity.
But, this doesn’t mean I don’t have some big concerns about getting rid of Android Auto and CarPlay.
The biggest one is that I don’t think GM is going to give us the full array of apps available via Android Auto. Company reps have committed to providing popular apps natively in the vehicle’s infotainment system, including Google Maps and music programs like Spotify. But, I’m not confident at all in GM’s trip planning software at this point. I know for a fact that if I had trusted it, I would have had to call for a tow truck.
So, the company had better be smart and provide essential EV apps like A Better Route Planner. Or, better yet, I hope GM does the smart thing and integrates good EV route planning software directly in the vehicle’s infotainment. Whatever is done, it had better be good if I’m not going to be able to connect to my phone.
My other concern is that this will be yet another money suck in the form of subscriptions. I already pay good money for a data connection from Verizon, and I currently use that connection via Android Auto. I don’t pay AT&T for an expensive data plan for just the vehicle to use. But, GM is probably going to expect us to pay a few bucks a month just to be able to use Apple and Google apps (among others), and that’s on top of the stupidly expensive OnStar service I keep forgetting to cancel or downgrade every month because it’s almost useless.
So, if the company is going to go this route, it had better be reasonably priced or included at the time of purchase.
Featured image by Jennifer Sensiba.