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The new Smart #1 wants neither Apple Carplay nor Android Auto!

The new Smart #1 wants neither Apple Carplay nor Android Auto!

suv smart

With the new #1, Mercedes-Benz's baby, Smart, has changed the game: the shape of the car, the design, the technical layout, and something unprecedented and very important in EVs: the entire software ecosystem.

Among the innovations announced at the presentation of this new vehicle, there was one seemingly insignificant, but that says a lot about the ambitions of the Daimler-Geely project: the decision not to equip the first place with the most popular in the world, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, total amazement, lucidity... or not?

PRESENTATION OF THE TACTICAL DECISION

This apparent downsizing, which may seem wrong to many, actually hides the belief in creating a platform that is so effective in terms of user experience that they will no longer feel the need to connect their smartphone "because it works better anyway." This is not the case with any car today, with the exception of Tesla, the world's leading electric vehicle manufacturer.

On the other hand, the central role of software in electric vehicles has made manufacturers realize that taking back control of what happens in the car is not an option, but a strategic necessity to finally stop depending on Apple's Apple or Google's G.

interieur smart suv

But to move away from smartphones and their software, you need to have the ability to develop technology that really works, to break with tradition, and maybe to be a little bolder. Assuming it's also a question of mentality, the Germans at Daimler need a little help from the Chinese to change gears, which is mandatory since all of the world's automotive electronics are produced in the land of the rising sun.

3D TECHNOLOGY

If at this point you're wondering how the new Smart #1's infotainment system works, we can't give you an answer yet, because the nearly 13-inch touchscreen can't be touched. "This is not the final version," we were told in Berlin.

We were able to gather some more technical data on the new system, which will be connected to the Microsoft cloud in Europe and will be "powered" by the latest generation Qualcomm Snapdragon SA8155P processor.

This is a particularly powerful processor that will, among other things, handle a rich 3D computer graphics interface, as you can see from the photos we took on board.

ecran smart 1

Sitting on a recliner under an umbrella, the fox is one of the avatars that should guide the smartphone's user interface with self-learning voice commands, just like Siri or Alexa do. Test if it works well.

In any case, access to the ecosystem will be guaranteed through a personal login, and authorized drivers will be able to access the car using their smartphone (connected via a digital peer-to-peer key), control it remotely and customize its configuration using a dedicated app.

Interestingly, while the hardware was developed by the Chinese arm of the Daimler-Geely alliance, the graphical interface was created by designers at the Mercedes-Benz Style Center.

TO CONCLUDE

Getting back to the issue of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay being unavailable, we have to add one more thing. Smart engineers noted that these mirroring capabilities could be implemented quickly in the future, as this new Smart #1 SUV has over-the-air updates.

It all depends on how customers perceive the Smart ecosystem. As if to say: you should try our software before deciding if you still like this phone.

What is certain is that we will see more and more of these restrictions aimed at re-educating customers from the automotive world, which needs to take back control of its own technological development at an unprecedented time. Even at the cost of declaring war on historical partners like Apple and Google.