KEY POINTS

  • The connected car is one of the most important new digital platforms, and it's becoming a critical battleground for Google and Apple. Of the 220 million total connected cars on the road globally in 2020, we estimate consumers will activate connected services in 88 million.
  • Apple's CarPlay and Android Auto, the two companies' operating-system extensions for the car, enable drivers to run a selection of their smartphone apps on the car's infotainment center. By 2020, nearly 40 million cars will be running Android Auto and 37 million will be running Apple CarPlay. For now, though, CarPlay is in the lead.
  • CarPlay and Android Auto have very different interfaces but provide similar capabilities. They allow users to control a selection of apps via voice command and make other features available on the infotainment screen.
  • Both systems connect to the smartphone's native apps and offer an additional selection of third-party apps. CarPlay and Android Auto will be especially useful for expanding the reach of each platform's music streaming and mapping apps.
  • There are a number of benefits to Apple and Google in creating these in-car operating-system extensions. The two companies can deepen brand loyalty, earn additional revenues from digital goods and ads, and acquire more information on consumer behavior in the car.

Introducing Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

CarPlay Android AutoBI Intelligence

Apple and Google will soon battle for platform share in yet another major hardware category: the car. Both companies have developed operating-system extensions for the dashboard: Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto. Apple and Google announced the new platforms last year, and rollouts of cars that use these systems have already begun.

It's no surprise that two of the biggest consumer-facing tech companies would be looking toward the car as an important avenue for growth. Connected cars that run digital services will be an enormous market.

  • Of the 220 million total connected cars on the road globally in 2020, we estimate consumers will activate connected services in 88 million of these vehicles.
  • About 88% of these cars will be running either Android [...]