Battle of the Car Dashboard Pits Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Against Traditional Car Makers

Apple CarPlay

There is a beautiful war that is shaping up right now. The war is about how the car dashboard should function, or at least, how the internal systems of your car should be connected to your mobile devices. The battle started when technology companies, led by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Google, developed interest in cars. The companies then started developing applications that they claimed would revolutionize how you get entertained in your car.

Their primary focus was to control the screens that are now ubiquitous in cars. Traditional automakers were wary of the advances of the likes of Google and Apple. To them, the interest that the fine tech companies had developed in cars meant that they should be prepared for a battle or attempt to appease the tech companies by offering them collaborations.

So far, we have seen open confrontations and collaborations in equal measure. Google developed the Android Auto. This is an application that allows you to literally access the features of your phone on the dashboard of your car. You only have to plug your phone in and then you get all the applications of your phone popping up on your dashboard.

You can then use them to control the entertainment that you get while in your car, among many other things. Apple developed the Apple CarPlay. This application also helps you to seamlessly connect all your phone applications to the dashboard of your car. Similarly, you can use it for entertainment as well as many other functions.

The manner in which traditional automakers have responded to this development so far has been interesting. In general, the car making companies have sought to cede ground and collaborate with the tech companies. They have allowed into their cars the new systems. The most enthusiastic of all the companies has been General Motors.

The company has allowed into the dashboards of its models some of the applications that have been developed by the likes of Google and Apple. Other companies like Toyota and Ford are still weighing the options. Although Toyota made an agreement with Apple to allow Apple to place its magic into the dashboards of Toyota cars, the deal is yet to be actualised. Ford is doing a similar thing.

But what is causing concern to the automakers is that tech companies simply do not get satisfied. Apart from entertainment, the new apps threaten to take over the manner in which the temperature of your car is controlled. They even threaten to take over the way you control the seats in your car! This, according to Nilay Patel, who edits Verge, raises questions about safety and it makes it harder for car manufacturers to cede more ground to the tech companies.