There’s been a lot of fanfare surrounding the Proton X50 infotainment system – for one, it is capable of some functions only cars in excess of RM250k offer (if you discount its X70 sibling). So let’s take a closer look at the highlight of the X50’s snazzy new infotainment system.
There are two different infotainment units
The Standard and Executive variants are offered with an 8-inch touchscreen, whereas the Premium and Flagship variants get a larger 10.25-inch screen which houses additional functions.
In both cases, these infotainment units are powered by Geely’s own ‘ECARX’ E01 Quad-Core Central Processing Unit (CPU). The E01 is the first independently developed chip from ECARX (a subsidiary of Geely) and utilises a high-speed 64-bit Quad-Core Central Processing Unit (CPU) combined with a dedicated Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) supporting HD 1080p dual-screen display and a 4G modem which provide seamless capable connectivity and content delivery within equipped vehicles.
Crucially, the new E01 CPU offers five times faster computing performance and 33 percent faster boot-up speed compared to the unit in the Proton X70.
This means that system activates at breakneck speeds, and loads user applications and Navigation maps quicker. As with smartphones, the system is also able to cycle between apps and screens much smoother.
A new operating software
The E01 is augmented with the latest GKUI 19 operating software, unlike other Android or Apple-based infotainment systems - the GKUI 19 adds greater Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities. The GKUI 17 connects to an AI cloud, while a ‘smart desktop’ setup utilizes the systems AI to intuitively configure itself depending on the user’s needs.
The other aspect is that the software, its applications, screen layouts and overall operation is guided by UI/UX (User Interface/User eXperience) principles that are claimed to offer an intuitive experience when using the system.
Other highlights include the standard 4G Connectivity – in the case of the Standard and Executive variants, the embedded-SIM (eSim – programmable SIM ‘card’) is directly integrated into the head unit, whereas in the Premium and Flagship variants, it is embedded into the Telematics Box (a vehicle Black Box).
This latter system allows the integration of car control functions such as operating the Climate Control, and Windows. These can be augmented using the “Hi Proton…” voice-controlled functions, such as on the X70.
The Premium and Flagship variants offer the X50 Proton Link app. Through the app, users can remotely start the car (for a maximum of 10 minutes; the car will shut off automatically if the driver does not get in by then), pre-set the climate control to their desired temperature settings, and even send a location/destination to their X50, which can be accessed to begin guidance, once in the car.
Separately, the X50 can also be started using the keyfob, how’s that for comprehensive equipment!
Other proprietary features include the Joox music application, which works much like Spotify, first introduced in April 2020. The Joox app, however, is best described as a work in progress, as song selections are limited compared to other more established audio streaming services.
Until not too long ago (more specifically the X70), features such as this were reserved only for premium cars from BMW (Connected Drive) and Mercedes-Benz (Mercedes Me) – which you might surmise are far more pricey than what the X50 will eventually cost.
It is for this reason as well, we must expect the price variations between the separate X50 variants to be larger than usual, give these innovative features are not offered anywhere else in the B-Segment market.