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Chevrolet drives GM?s mobile moves with Android Auto, Apple Car Play rollout

General Motors? Chevrolet brand will offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility in 14 vehicles for the 2016 model year to satisfy customer demand for in-car services such as navigation, messaging and streaming entertainment while supporting GM?s ambition to become a leader on mobile.

Claiming to offer the services in more vehicles than any other car brand, Chevrolet said its MyLink system will let owners access both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The move points to automakers? efforts to integrate more of the features smartphone users rely on most within dashboard technology as the growth of smartphones leads to demands for smoother integration between phones and vehicles.  

?Drivers want access to navigation, contacts, messaging and streaming entertainment apps and it is our responsibility as an automaker to bring Chevrolet customers smarter connectivity solutions that keep drivers? hands on the wheel and eyes on the road more often,? said Dan Kinney, user experience director for Detroit-based GM?s Chevrolet division.

?Chevrolet has a strong track record for rolling out technologies customers love across a broad range of vehicles.?

44 markets
The all-new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze, which will be unveiled in June, will lead Chevrolet's rollout of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto across 44 markets.

Freeing hands with Android Auto.

Android Auto is built on Google Maps, Google Now and the ability to talk to Google, as well as an audio and messaging app ecosystem that includes WhatsApp, Skype, Google Play Music, Spotify, and podcast players. 

With Apple CarPlay, drivers can put their favorite iPhone features on the vehicle?s display to make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music right from the touchscreen or by voice via Siri. 

Apple CarPlay supported apps include Phone, Messages, Maps, Music and compatible third-party apps. 

Many features can be controlled via voice commands through a button on the steering wheel.
A ?Projection? icon on the MyLink screen is visible when a phone is not connected, then changes to indicate either CarPlay or Android Auto when a compatible phone is connected via USB. 

Android Auto requires a phone running the Android Lollipop 5.0 operating system or above, while Apple CarPlay requires an iPhone 5 or later.

The rollout continues Chevrolet?s deep dive into mobile. In 2011 it introduced the RemoteLink smartphone app, allowing customers to remotely unlock a vehicle?s doors or start the engine from a smartphone. Last year, it introduced 4G LTE Wi-Fi across 16 car models. 

Chevrolet also was the first brand to introduce Siri Eyes Free functionality and to offer available OnStar 4G LTE connectivity across a range of cars, trucks and crossovers in the United States and Canada. 

Chevrolet has connected more than a half-million customers to high-speed 4G LTE Wi-Fi, according to the brand.

GM?s push into mobile last year came as a Nielsen report found that about one in five drivers aware of connected cars is already driving one of them ? and that number is expected to swell as automakers continue to introduce the new tech into more and more models.

The automaker equipped more than 30 models with fourth-generation Wi-Fi [4G LTE] hot spots, allowing consumers to connect up to seven mobile devices at once and to remain connected up to 50 feet away from the vehicle.

Expensive burden
GM?s Detroit rival Ford Motor also is embracing mobile by focusing on marketing vehicles not just as transportation but as a technology experience to attract millennial buyers who regard cars as an expensive burden.

Putting favorite features on dashboard with Apple CarPlay.

?This week?s announcement is the latest proof-point that Chevrolet is giving customers the technology they want faster and more broadly than anyone else,? Mr. Kinney said.

?Nearly every driver in the U.S. today has a smartphone today and many of them use their phones while driving in an unsafe manner. 

?We?ve committed to a broad rollout of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay because we get it,? he said. ?All of us at Chevrolet spend time on our roads too and see that drivers want access to their phones, but need smarter ways to do so. 

?By collaborating with Apple and Google, we?re getting smarter solutions to market quickly with interfaces customers will readily understand,? he said.

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York