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Carmakers put Apple's CarPlay in the slow lane

Lucas Mearian | Aug. 25, 2014
They're also looking to include Android, which IHS says will dominate the market.

Some car manufacturers are delaying their rollout of CarPlay, the software platform from Apple that synchronizes an iPhone to a vehicle's infotainment system.

At the same time, automakers are also queuing up Google's Android Auto for mirroring those smartphones to radio systems. Android Auto is expected to outpace CarPlay in manufacturer deployments, according to research firm IHS.

Apple's own website proclaims that CarPlay will be available in "select new cars in 2014." But, to date, no car manufacturer has rolled the software out, according to Filomena Berardi, a senior analyst with ABI Research.

Three of five leading carmakers who had expected to integrate the CarPlay middleware for 2015 models coming out this year appear to have delayed their rollout.

Apple CarPlay
Some of the basic apps available on Apple's CarPlay user interface (image: Apple).

Mercedes-Benz confirmed it is delaying the rollout until next year. Volvo, according to 9to5Mac, indicated it is also delaying its rollout until 2015.

Honda had planned a 2014 rollout, but is expected to delay that move as well until 2015, according to IHS.

Colin Bird, a senior analyst for Software, Apps, & Services at IHS, said CarPlay and Android Auto are relatively simple middleware applications that shouldn't present much of a challenge for automakers to integrate. "For Volvo, part of it seems to be either a miscommunication or a delay of the product CarPlay's being deployed on, which is the XC90 SUV," Bird said, adding that the new vehicle model is now due out in 2015 in North America.

In an email reply to Computerworld, a Volvo spokesman said the company will announce all details about its CarPlay plans at the world premiere of the new Volvo XC90, which will take place on Tuesday.

Hyundai is one carmaker that still plans a 2014 deployment of CarPlay and Android Auto.

Android Auto
Android Auto's music player (image: Google).

"Right now, they're performing the final validation work as we speak," said Hyundai spokesman Miles Johnson. "We're still planning to have it in the 2015 models year for sure."

Apple, which refers to CarPlay as "iOS in the car," and Android Auto will enable simpler, but similar user interfaces on a vehicle's infotainment system, also known as the radio head unit. Once connected, basic iPhone and Android apps, such as phone, music and maps, will appear as icons in the infotainment touchscreen display.

Two dozen manufacturers plan to implement CarPlay and/or Android Auto in new vehicles. Those carmakers include Chrysler, Fiat, Maserati, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Suzuki, BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar/Land Rover, Toyota, Nissan, Ferrari, and Volvo.


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