As More Carmakers Flock To Android Auto And CarPlay, Toyota Says 'No Thanks'

Google is engrossed with self-driving cars and Apple has reportedly assembled a super team of engineers to build an electric vehicle to take on Tesla. Whether or not either venture makes it into the mainstream is something we won't know for at least several more years, but in the meantime, both companies are also jockeying for dominance in the in-car dash market.

As in-car electronics become more sophisticated and connected with our mobile devices, there's definitely a growing market for platforms like Google's Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay. And as each company makes its respective pitch, expect more and more dealerships around the country to begin offering these platforms, either as standard features that an automaker has adopted or as optional add-ons based on preference.

Apple CarPlay

There's a lengthy article in The New York Times that speaks to the subject in depth, but the most important point only gets quickly touched on. It's that these two platforms are setting the stage for an extension of the mobile wars into the auto industry, and if automakers aren't careful, they risk alienating a set of customers based on their phone's OS. It's very reason Toyota has chosen to stick with its own proprietary in-dash system.

"We may eventually end up there, but right now we prefer to use our in-house proprietary platforms for those kinds of functions," said John Hanson, national manager of Toyota's advanced technology communications.

Going that route comes with its own set of challenges, such as predicting where technology is headed and incorporating functions (like voice control) that are on par with what Apple and Google have created. But at the same time, Toyota doesn't want an iPhone or Android phone owner to shun one of its vehicles because of its in-dash electronics.

Why not offer both? That's what Ford plans to do. By the end of the year, Android Auto and CarPlay will be available on all new Ford models sold in the U.S., and the reasoning is the same.

"We don't want people to have to make a vehicle choice based on which mobile phone they have," said Don Butler, Ford's executive director for connected vehicles and services. "We want to accommodate all customers and their devices."