General Motors Is Dropping CarPlay for Subscription Revenue

One more story to complete the car news trifecta, and it is sort of like a cocktail of the last two stories: a little General Motors idiocy mixed with a dash of CarPlay confusion.

Molly Boigon, Automotive News:

Nearly a decade after most automakers touted smartphone mirroring through CarPlay and Android Auto as a standard feature, many wonder if they surrendered an important part of the car to big tech and are looking to reclaim the vehicle interface before Apple can expand its reach.

The automakers are emulating newcomers such as Tesla and Rivian Automotive, which opted to develop their own advanced interfaces instead of mirroring a smartphone screen. They want to claim an attractive revenue stream — subscriptions to software features sold to drivers directly through the infotainment center.

It is like all the worst trends of the past decade are coming together in the toxic sludge that is the second quoted paragraph. Touch screens in cars replacing common button-based controls? Check. Consumer data harvesting? Oh yeah. Subscriptions? Better believe it.

According to surveys quoted in this article, people do not actually want any of this stuff. Car buyers want CarPlay because it beats the stock infotainment system pretty much always, and requires no fiddly configuration to get music and maps onto the dashboard. But people prefer physical controls for features like climate control and seat operations.

Also, high praise to Boigon for these two sentences later in the story:

GM is designing its new interface using Android Automotive, Google’s open-source software development kit. It is a different product from Android Auto, Google’s automotive phone mirroring software. […]

Truly a story that has everything, including Google’s unintelligible product strategy and naming conventions. I need to lie down.