Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have been controversial subjects in the car world as of late. General Motors, for example, says it plans to phase out the technology in its next-generation electric vehicles. But other automakers aren’t so sure that’s a good idea.
Jim Rowan, the former Blackberry boss turned CEO of Volvo, says his company is committed to in-car services like CarPlay and Android Auto. In a recent interview with The Verge, Rowan said it would be a mistake to ignore the “seven billion people on the planet that have an iPhone or Android.”
“We want to offer the choice of Android Auto or Apple CarPlay so that they can then offer all the plethora of choices that they’ve got,” Rowan noted, “whether that’s the different apps that you can download into the car itself that sits on that center stack or just the convenience of having your iPhone or your Android machine connect directly and seamlessly with the car.”
Rowan also shot down the idea of charging customers in-car subscriptions for things like heated seats, as some competitors have proposed. But in-car performance upgrades for EVs aren’t entirely out of the question.
“I don’t buy [in-car subscriptions], quite frankly,” says Rowan. “I think there’s maybe a bit of inside revenue if you want to go to the upper levels of certain performance or you want to release X amount of performance in the car in terms of acceleration.”
Volvo currently uses an Android Automotive-based operating system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto available on all of its vehicles. Volvo’s newest models, like the EX30 and the EX90, even offer CarPlay as standard equipment with over-the-air updates.
Recently, Volvo added an Apple CarPlay update to more than 650,000 of its cars that tweaked the layout and allowed for the driver display to natively support Apple Maps and other navigation services. That same screen can now also present information for incoming calls.
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