Toyota Chooses Xevo Software to Power 2018 Camry App Suite

Infotainment systems's importance is increasing the role of software companies within the auto industry.

Toyota Motor North America

The prevalence of infotainment systems mean that when an automaker scopes out suppliers for a new model, it needs to consider software companies alongside manufacturers of more traditional components like transmissions and seat fabric.

That's particularly true with Toyota, which has opted not to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smart connectivity, as many other automakers now do. Instead, it's trying to build similar functionality into the 2018 Camry's infotainment system using software from supplier Xevo.

The 2018 Camry's Entune 3.0 system uses "Xevo Engine" to connect in-car apps with a driver's smartphone. This allows Toyota to continue offering the convenience of app connectivity, although its system won't have the Apple- or Android-specific design that the two branded systems have.

Similarly, Xevo will continue to supply its Scout GPS Link as a generic navigation aid. First installed on certain 2016 and 2017 Toyota models, it allows drivers to project information from their smartphones onto the car's infotainment display, much in the same way Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allow drivers to use Apple or Google Maps, respectively, in their cars. Functions include turn-by-turn directions, real-time ETA estimates, and one-tap navigation for key destinations like home or office.

Toyota is trying hard to make a statement with the 2018 Camry. Unveiled in January at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, the new Camry emphasizes styling and driving dynamics in an effort to banish its reputation for beige boringness. Alongside the more extroverted styling and promised sportier driving dynamics, the infotainment system represents a bold move in its own right.

In a relatively short period of time, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have become more or less the industry standard for smartphone connectivity. Customers seem to like the systems because they replicate the familiar interfaces from their smartphones. But Toyota is sticking to a smartphone interface of its own design, meaning the pressure is on to deliver a system with the same level of convenience as those from the Silicon Valley competition.