Dinesh Paliwal, Harman CEO, spoke to Automotive News about the next-generation entertainment and navigation system that his company is building for GM as part of a US$900 million ($1.05 billion) supply contract.
Paliwal says that GM's new infotainment setup will run on the Android operating system. Although Android's source code is available for free to both use and modify, Harman has worked closely with Google to ensure that its implementation is "automotive-grade ready". For example, the new system will boot up almost instantly when the car is started.
Due in late 2016, it's not known which brands and models will be the first to feature the new system and Paliwal isn't at liberty to say. He does concede that Harman, as a supplier to other car manufacturers, will offer the system to GM's competitors, although any takers will be one generation behind GM.
The new Android-based system will feature an app store and, according to Paliwal, "apps will be developed by General Motors, Harman and a bunch of other third parties, not just Google and Apple." The latter is an interesting inclusion on the list of potential developers, as the only app currently made by Apple for Android is Beats Music, and the continued existence of that streaming service has been constantly called into question since its acquisition.
Earlier this year GM said that it planned to roll out an app store for its MyLink system. It later pulled the plug on these plans, possibly as a reaction to the launch of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
It should be noted that Android, the smartphone and tablet operating system, that's talked about here differs from Android Auto, which was launched earlier this year. Android Auto, like Apple's CarPlay, is a set of protocols and standards that, essentially allow select apps, as well as key smartphone functionality, to be mirrored onto, and interacted with, via the car's entertainment screen.
According to Automotive News, GM currently uses a variety of operating systems, including QNX by Blackberry, Linux and a Microsoft OS, to underpin its various in-car electronics packages.