Big news out of the 2014 Geneva Motor Show is Apple’s announcement of CarPlay. CarPlay is the new term for iOS in the Car, and will be available later this year from Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo. More automakers have committed to the platform as well. However, Chevrolet has already brought an immersive app to their vehicles, called BringGo. Available on hundreds of different phone platforms, BringGo can be used by many more devices and is available today. Let’s take a look at both features and see which one has the advantage.
BringGo’s primary focus is navigation. The Chevy Spark and Sonic are smaller vehicles in the Chevrolet lineup. They are also available with a version of MyLink that costs just $200 to add to the vehicle. This upgrades the basic radio to a full touch-screen interface, and provides a screen for BringGo to work. The BringGo app, available for iOS and Android, is a navigation app for the phone that connects to the MyLink radio through a data cable and provides full control of the app on the phone through the touch screen on the vehicle. The app is $59.99, and comes with 3 years of map updates.
BringGo offers features that Apple Maps currently does not. This includes real-time traffic information and speed limit data. Also, the maps can be downloaded to the phone while connected to wifi, so that data is not used while on the road. All-in, the $260 that is needed to bring this functionality to a Chevy vehicle is much less expensive than what other automakers charge to add navigation to their vehicles.
Apple’s CarPlay also offers navigation functionality. Utilizing the mapping software built into iOS 7, CarPlay allows for full voice and touch screen input of Apple Maps through the car’s infotainment screen. If the vehicle doesn’t have a touch screen, but a knob or dial for control, that control will also work with CarPlay. In order for CarPlay to work, a data cable is also needed to plug into the vehicle. Currently, Apple Maps requires an always-on data connection, which could chew into a low monthly data plan limit.
Full access to Siri is available to both Chevy users and CarPlay users. Chevrolet already supports Siri EyesFree in the Spark and Sonic, and the voice command button with CarPlay will bring the same functionality. This means a driver can send a message, have email read back, schedule an appointment, and more using voice.
Chevy MyLink also has access to additional apps, including Pandora. CarPlay will support Spotify at launch, with the promise of more in the future. Both services allow for playback of music off of the phone.
In reality, Chevrolet will offer CarPlay at some point in the future, as they are listed as a “committed partner” by Apple. But if someone who is looking for a CarPlay-like interface, on more phones, then a Chevy Spark or Sonic with MyLink and BringGo is a very competitive alternative that is available today.