The infotainment war heats up as Apple announces nine new Carplay partners

Read our full Apple CarPlay review.

Looks like the battle for dashboard infotainment supremacy just heated up – again. Last week at Google’s I/O conference, the tech colossus premiered a new automobile dashboard operating system which looks decidedly similar to Apple’s Carplay system, called Android Auto. This week, Apple struck back, announcing nine new automakers that will join its already-stocked stable of 20 Carplay participants.

According to Tech News, the new list of cars that will incorporate Apple’s all encompassing in-dash system include Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Audi, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Mazda, and Ram. Those companies join a large swath of top names in the industry that are down with Carplay, from Ferrari and Mercedes Benz, to Honda and Ford.

Google, jumping in late to the game, has some catching up to do. Currently, it has listed only five definite auto participants, including Audi, Hyundai, GM, Honda, and Volvo. However, at the keynote for Android Auto, Google teased that it has over 40 partners involved with its “Open Automotive Alliance,” which includes both automakers and technology partners. More automakers are expected to announce participation as the system rolls out.

Both of the new systems will incorporate a full suite of technologies, including entertainment, navigation, and communication, all of which will be tied in with your smartphone. As expected, voice operation is heavily integrated into both systems as well, to keep drivers safely engaged with the road as they engage with the new technology.

According to Apple, new cars incorporating Carplay systems will start popping up later this summer, while Google’s first vehicle with the system, the Volvo XC90, will reportedly arrive at the 2014 Paris Motor Show this fall

If a new car is too rich for your blood, however, don’t fret. Apple will be working with at least two aftermarket manufacturers, including Pioneer and Alpine, to create add-on systems slated for release later this summer. The systems are still pricey, starting at around $700, but it’s a lot cheaper than a new set of wheels. Google is also expected to offer aftermarket systems with Android Auto inside, though no official partners have been disclosed.

If you’d like to find out more about both systems, check out our Android Auto coverage from Google I/O, or our hands-on ride-along with Apple Carplay.

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