GM could launch an Android-based infotainment system in 2016

2014 Chevrolet Impala
General Motors is one of the carmakers that plans to offer Google’s Android Auto infotainment system, as well as Apple’s rival product, CarPlay. However, that hasn’t stopped GM from tinkering on its own.

It’s reportedly planning an Android-based infotainment system, that isn’t Android Auto.

The new system will be developed by Harman International as part of a $900 million contract inked with GM in 2012, and will debut on production cars beginning in late 2016, according to Automotive News (subscription required).

The system will give GM an up-to-date infotainment interface that isn’t linked to a smartphone.

While Android Auto and CarPlay are billed as the next big thing in automotive electronics, they can’t really function without a smartphone.

Both systems mirror the features and displays on a driver’s smartphone, allowing the driver to control them using a car’s dashboard buttons, touchscreen or voice controls.

However, they can only control what’s on the phone. None of the information accessed is native to the car, and onboard systems like climate control are left out.

In addition to providing a digital interface that doesn’t require an iOS or Android phone, GM will also get an operating system that it can use across multiple models.

GM uses different infotainment systems for each of its brands, but even specific models within those brands don’t necessarily share operating systems.

The Chevrolet Malibu and Cruze, for example, use Blackberry QNX, while the Tahoe and Impala use Linux, and the Sonic and Spark use a Microsoft system.

GM and Harman are keeping quiet on the details of the new system, but one of the requirements is reportedly that it boot up as soon as the car is started.

If it bucks the trend and proves easy to use, expect the Android-based system to become the infotainment standard on at least a few GM models, with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay offered as an extra layer of functionality for smartphone users.

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