Infiniti and Mitsubishi should stand to benefit as well.
Let's be honest, Nissan's infotainment system has never been great. They've always been usable but lacked the functionality of systems offered by Ford, GM, Hyundai/Kia. The issue has various levels of severity over the different Renault-Nissan Alliance brand. For instance, Nissan's latest system is a fairly easy-to-use touchscreen with Apple CarPlay functionality but no Android Auto support. However, some Nissan cars, like the 370Z and Frontier, still use a decade-old infotainment system with very few modern features.
Infiniti has a similar issue with some models using a decade-old system, while the fresher models use a bewilderingly annoying dual-touchscreen system. We won't even begin to delve into Mitsubishi, who decided to copy the Lexus Enform controller, universally seen as the worst infotainment controller in the industry. Fortunately, Automotive News reports that help is on the way for the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and it comes from Google.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance has announced a partnership with Google that will put the tech giant's Android operating system in control of the entire in-car infotainment experience - this includes maps, navigation, basic infotainment controls, and apps. This means Nissan, Infiniti, and Mitsubishi will be the second group of cars to adopt an Android operating system in the dashboard (Google also has a partnership with Volvo).
With this partnership, Nissan, Infiniti, and Mitsubishi could jump from having some of the most lackluster infotainment in the industry to having the very best. So far, automakers have only allowed Apple and Android to take over the dash when a phone is plugged in (with a few exceptions like BMW), but this partnership could give the Renault-Nissan Alliance a huge advantage in regards to app support.
"We are merging our forces to build a better system," said Kal Mos, global vice president of connected vehicles for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. "If you forget your phone, it will work perfectly fine in the car," he said, explaining the system. The way this infotainment is controlled will differ slightly across the different brands, but each will offer support for Android-based apps controlled via the Google assistant.
iPhone owners need not worry, because the system will still allow Apple CarPlay functionality as it functions now. This should be an exciting improvement that has been a long time coming for Nissan and its partners and we can't wait to see it put into a production car.