GM: We Play Nice With Apple and Google

4G LTE in full line, HD Radio still an option
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A Chevy Malibu at the New York International Auto Show

Radio World went behind the wheel with General Motors’ point man for the connected car at the 2015 New York International Auto Show.

The conversation with John McFarland, who heads the Global Connected Customer Experience Group at GM, touched on connectivity, compatibility (with Android and iOS devices) safety and HD Radio’s future in future GM models. When asked to give a bullet point description of his group's responsibility he simply said “We’re responsible for the future of the connected car.”

GM is rolling out 4G LTE connectivity through its OnStar system through virtually every model and trim level. McFarland says it helps in connecting smartphones for work with the telematics systems and allows up to seven users to take advantage of a high-speed Internet connection. “It’ll be in every vehicle we’re going to be selling in the future.”

McFarland says GM hasn’t picked sides between Apple Car Play and Google’s Android Auto, choosing to work closely with both. “I don't think this is a clash of titans, I think it’s a partnership.” The company is one of the co-founders of the Open Automotive Alliance.

When asked whether HD Radio reception would remain an option for GM cars of the future, he said, “We’ll continue to support it and provide that option, but the usage and where we put it will be driven and dictated by which customers see value in it.” McFarland mentioned Cadillac availability of HD Radio as an example of that value. “We [GM] will be supportive but judicious as we continue to put it in vehicles.”

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