Acknowledging it as the “elephant in the room” in a recent press conference during an X90 media drive event, Proton deputy CEO, Roslan Abdullah confirmed that the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity features will indeed be making their way into Proton cars in the future.
However, as the feature is still currently under development, its arrival will be “not too soon”, and “not on the next model” too. Which means that, unfortunately, the upcoming Proton sedan due later this year – heavily rumoured to be called the S50 – will not be getting the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features.
Proton’s infotainment system is currently developed by ACO Tech, a Malaysian company jointly formed between Proton, ECarX, and Altel. The latest iteration of its Atlas operating system, now being used in the X90, boasts many advanced features such as an in-car e-wallet payment system and direct Spotify integration, although its smartphone connectivity is only limited to just Bluetooth or the QDLink screen mirroring system.
When questioned about the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features, a representative from ACO Tech previously explained that the hold-up was mainly down to user data collection by Apple and Google. “(…) But I think the ACO Tech team understands what is the market requirements for the CarPlay and Android Auto, and they’re still working on it,” the representative added.
While Proton may have committed to introducing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity in its future models, it’s unclear if these features will be retroactively added to its existing cars via software updates, as Apple requires specific hardware certifications through its MFi programme for Apple CarPlay connectivity on vehicle head units and infotainment systems.
It has certainly been done before, however. Volvo previously rolled out an over-the-air software update for its Android Automotive-based operating system to enable Apple CarPlay connectivity on its cars, and the same was done for the Perodua Alza too, albeit with a manual software update done by its technicians at service centres.