GM to soon use Android on its infotainment system

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 7, 2014

The Android OS currently powers over 1 billion handheld devices. But soon enough, General Motors’ offerings will have an infotainment system based on Google’s widely used operating system. GM’s supplier of its next-generation infotainment system -- Harman International – has disclosed that it would base the technology on Android and would roll it out on the carmaker’s vehicles in late 2016.

Harman chief executive remarked that the next-generation infotainment system will enable an app store to allow it to stay “technologically relevant over the life cycle of the vehicle.” The apps for the infotainment system will be developed by not only Google, but also General Motors, Harman and other third parties. Harman is a member of the Google-led Open Automotive Alliance.

He remarked that the company is collaborating with Google on the system to ensure that Android is “automotive-grade ready.” That would mean that Harman cater to demands from carmakers, including making the Android infotainment system start up almost instantaneously as soon as the driver starts the vehicle.

According to Paliwal, GM would be the first carmaker to offer vehicles with Harman’s new operating system. He noted that other carmakers could adopt the OS “one life cycle behind.” He did not disclose which GM models would have the privilege to don the new Android-based infotainment.

Likewise, there would a challenge for GM on how to deploy the Android system across its lineup, since its products are using several operating systems.

For instance, IHS senior analyst Mark Boyadjis told Automotive News that the Chevrolet Malibu and Cruze sedans use Blackberry Ltd.’s QNX, while the Tahoe SUV and Impala sedan employ Linux. On the other hand, the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact and Spark minicar use an operating system from Microsoft Corp.

Chevrolet is offering two new variants for the Sonic----the sedan and the 5-door hatchback. Though both the 5-door and the sedan share the same distinctive contours along the roof, belt and side profile, the two are entirely different models. For one, the new Chevrolet Sonic 5–door is characterised by a taut, boxy shape and more aggressive lines. The notchback angle, on the other hand, presents a more sophisticated and elegant shape for the sedan.

Nevertheless, the two models bear the same refinement, stability and strength that the brand wishes to endorse with the new line-up. That is to say, the sedan and the 5-door model’s wheels-out proportions and wider stance deliver the same level of performance. It’s also quite easy to spot these new Chevys. The new Sonic has what we consider as Chevrolet’s strongest elements. These are the round-shaped taillights, dual element grille and motorcycle headlamps. Chevrolet is also introducing the new 17-inch alloy wheels, large wheel sizes plus a combination of chrome and matte black paint accents for the Sonic’s grille.

But what we find more interesting is Chevrolet’s strong attention to details. The 5-door’s discreetly appointed door handles make it seem as if it’s a 3-door model instead of a 5-door Chevrolet Sonic. These eccentric details continue all the way to the bulging tail lamps, emphasising the brand’s high quality and meticulous standards.

For its interiors, the highly advanced instrument panel with LCD suit the cabin’s motorcycle theme. The tubular outboard climate outlet on its surface makes it easier for the driver to use its function. Chevrolet also equipped the new Sonic with an analogue tachometer plus a digital speedometer to complete the inspiring motif.

All things considered, the new Sonic’s interior lives up to Chevrolet’s design approach. The cabin comes with storage compartments at the door and at the centre stack. The rear seats are also foldable to keep more items at the luggage area. Aside from the standard bucket seats, the new Chevrolet Sonic’s front seats can be upgraded to the heated version.

Also included inside the new Sonic is the automatic transmission’s cobra head knob or the chrome gear shifter for the manual. And lastly, there are two colours for the centre console, which can be availed either in brick or titanium.

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