Apple CarPlay

Is HTC Joining a War Already Settled by the Automakers?

Just saw this headline from Jalopnik in my RSS reader:

​HTC Rumored To Be Testing A System To Take On Android Auto

 

FYI, HTC makes cellphones.

No mention of Apple, just that they’re going after Android.

…The level of integration suggests that HTC isn’t just planning on something similar to Android Auto, where the smartphone is plugged in and displays a car-centric version of Android, but a deep-level integration. Connecting up to the sonar used for adaptive cruise control, tire pressure monitoring, lane departure warning, and even night vision means this is more than just a media and navigation skin that takes over the car’s screen….

 

This is all really cool sounding.  Maybe they’ve got something cooking with the makers of Indian or Chinese carmakers.  But at last glance, the platform wars within cars is settled.  By the major automakers themselves.

They’re not interested in losing sales because a prospective owner has an iPhone, but the car has Android Auto installed.  So they’re making their electronics integrate with both.  Which makes total sense.  And what leaves me scratching my head with this news from HTC.

Perhaps they’re looking to integrate with an Automatic, or a Cargo and their tech will work with these OBD-II port platforms.  Dunno, will have to wait and see.

In the meantime, here’s some snippets from a fantastic Jalopnik article that sums up the end of of in-car platform wars:

I Shouldn’t Have To Pick My Car Based On My Phone
You won’t. The vast majority of the automakers offering (or planning to offer) these systems are going with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. There are exceptions (BMW comes to mind), but looking over the lists of automakers partnering with Apple and Google, there’s a ton of overlap.

 

Because of this, the chances of your resale value being affected are slim, as is the possibility of all the songs you bought through either iTunes or Google Play becoming useless when you choose a car. 

 

Your OS will not and should not dictate your new car purchase.

 

I’ll Be Locked Into One Mobile Operating System Forever
No. See above.

 

Just Let Me Plug In My Phone And Mirror My Damn Screen
Not gonna happen. Automakers have been working tirelessly to keep the feds from mandating what can and can’t be used or displayed on screens. By making it a free-for-all where your phone’s display is mirrored onto your dash, automakers would open themselves up to liability and oversight. The design, layout, and functionality of your phone is just that: for your phone. Porting it over to your dash isn’t a good idea. The touch points are too small, the functions are too broad, and the possibility of distraction is far too high. [insert porn joke or Clash of Clans reference here]. That’s why Android Auto and CarPlay are better alternatives.

 

Both offer stripped-down interfaces that rely on large, simple text and graphics, along with basic, familiar functionality. If you use an iPhone, the learning curve for CarPlay isn’t steep. There are icons. You press them. Same with Android Auto. It looks and works similarly to what you use on your phone, but without all the bells and whistles and potentials for distraction.

 

So whatever HTC is planning, they’ll have to go hat-in-hand to the automakers to ask for integration.  Some of the options HTC seems to be planning are cool, but don’t they already have a home in the instrument panel?  If systems like Jaguar Land Rover’s Active Windshield gain momentum and adoption, these notifications will move to a place where the driver never has to look away: the windshield.

This “rumor” from HTC is a story worth keeping an eye on.

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Sebastian James

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