The risk could cost them millions.
To literally no one's surprise, there has been an immense amount of backlash from industry professionals and consumers alike who believe GM's decision to drop Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on all of its future all-electric vehicles is short-sighted. The Detroit Free Press reached out to the company regarding the decision, and much like recent comments from the CEO of Rivian, the explanation is less than convincing.
The rollout will start with the 2024 Blazer EV this year, with the car featuring a homegrown system GM has created in collaboration with Google. The car is already sold out, though that was before buyers knew of the dropping of these features.
GM spokeswoman Kelly Cusinato told the paper, "We're confident customers will see the capabilities, ease of use, and benefits of this integrated system, as they become more familiar with it."
GM is aiming to recreate the CarPlay and Android Auto experience by offering real-time navigation and voice commands along with a growing list of apps in the Google Play Store.
The system will be more EV-focused, offering battery-level integration into maps that allow the driver to route to charging stations more efficiently along with maximizing range.
It's obvious that the benefit of GM creating this is more control. Control over the layout and updates, control over the usebility and control over the driver's data. This will allow the company to better update its cars in the future to consumer tastes, but it will also allow them to create subscriptions out of formerly free systems and also potentially sell the data to cushion profits.
"We are guided by our desire to make the EV customer experience a differentiator in the future and the goal of building on, not stepping back, the benefits Apple CarPlay and Android Auto introduced years ago," said Cusinato. "We are not expecting customers to pay for basic connectivity. All 2024 Chevy Blazer EVs in the U.S. will come with standard connectivity that allows easy access to Google Maps and Google Assistant, at no additional cost, for eight years."
The company believes what they've built will be good enough to replace the systems, but just about everyone else is doubtful. The internet is chock full of articles in the past few weeks that vary from doubtful to downright blunt in people's frustration at what's about to come from America's biggest automaker.
On our own site, readers like Kent Leung have said, " I personally know at least 4 people (plus myself) that will first find out if the vehicle has CarPlay before considering the car."
Another reader, Zach McLean even said, "Apple and Android have invested vast amounts of time and money to make their software exactly what almost any customer needs. They are doing rework to accomplish basically the same task. In manufacturing, we call that NVA (Non-Value Added) work.
This is the real issue; by GM getting rid of these systems they're more likely to screw them up than they are to make something better. Google and Apple are decades-old companies that have continuously worked to perfect their prospective software. If GM really thinks it's just going to waltz in and change things up in a matter of a few years, it's most likely in for a rude awakening.
Though, it's not impossible.
Maybe, just maybe, GM will surprise us. Companies like China's Meizu already managed to create products that look better than Apple or Google software, and as long as the functionality is practically the same will consumers truly care?
Tesla, which admittedly still has a long way to grow, has never seen its vehicle sales hampered by the lack of third-party software primarily because the cars are so darn good buyers are willing to go without it.
GM definitely has faith in its software and it's also working on some industry-first features like using ChatGPT ai in its EVs to set it apart. The company is banking on brand loyalty and the ability of its cars to get them through in the time being. Its EVs are very good, but they aren't Tesla good yet.
Its buyers are already used to the software in its cars, and it's a lot harder to take things away than to never introduce them in the first place. Its biggest battle will be convincing people it's just as good, and knowing Android and Apple fanboys, that's much easier said than done.
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