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Polestar Announces the First Apps for the Polestar 2 EV, the World's First Vehicle With Google's ‘Android Automotive OS' Built-in

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【Summary】​Last year, electric brand Polestar which is jointly owned by Volvo Car Group and Zhejiang Geely Holding, announced that the upcoming Polestar 2 EV will be the world’s first vehicle to come with the new Android Automotive OS built in.

Eric Walz    Jul 24, 2020 8:00 AM PT
Polestar Announces the First Apps for the Polestar 2 EV, the World's First Vehicle With Google's ‘Android Automotive OS' Built-in
The Polestar 2 from Volvo's electric brand Polestar is the first production vehicle to come with Google's Android Automotive OS built in.

Last year, electric brand Polestar which is jointly owned by Volvo Car Group and Zhejiang Geely Holding, announced that the upcoming Polestar 2 EV will be the world's first vehicle to come with the new Android Automotive OS built in. 

This means that drivers will be able to use all of their favorite Google and Android apps right from the vehicle's infotainment screen without having to sync a smartphone. Today the company announced for the first time some of the apps that will be available for drivers and passengers.

Android Automotive OS is an embedded version of Android that Google developed specifically for automakers to embed in their models. The Polestar 2 will come with Google Maps for navigation, along with a suite of available third-party apps that owners can download to the vehicle. 

With Google Maps built-in, Polestar is able to offer features like real-time traffic information for navigation. The apps are downloaded right to the vehicle instead of to an Android smartphone.

While the Android Auto smartphone app is currently available in the Google Play store for free, it requires a smartphone to project it to an Android compatible vehicle's infotainment screen, using it as an external monitor, so its not an ideal setup for drivers.

While the current Android Auto app can be used directly from the device for navigation and playing music, it requires the phone to be on with the app running during the entire trip, as well as the device mounted on the dashboard within the driver's field of view, which can clutter the dashboard and block some of the vehicle controls.

For listening to music on Google Play, the smartphone also needs to be synced to the vehicle via Bluetooth or plugged into the vehicle aux in port. Often the phone needs to be plugged into a charging port, requiring an additional cable.

Android Automotive OS however, will be embedded in the Polestar 2 from the factory and will run on the vehicle's processors, so no separate smartphone is required, nor is a Bluetooth connection to an external device. 

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The Polestar 2 will run the same core Android Auto apps that are available now, including Google Maps, Google Play and Google Assistant. But Polestar owners will be able to visit the Google Play store and download additional apps to customize their vehicle's infotainment system, with more to come.

Apps scheduled to be available in Polestar 2 include podcast apps Castbox and Pocket Casts; library app Libby for listening to audiobooks, as well as popular radio apps iHeartRadio and Spotify.

"We're looking forward to introducing our innovative integration with the new Polestar 2 infotainment system on Google's Android Automotive platform. This collaboration creates a seamless, high-quality listening experience for our users on the road," said Sten Garmark, Spotify VP of Product.

Being that Android Automotive OS will be embedded in the Polestar 2, it paves the way for far tighter integration between the vehicle systems and Google's software, Polestar says. 

"By partnering with Google, we ensure that the infotainment system stays as cutting edge in the future as it is today," said Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO.  "Developers are able to join the open ecosystem to adapt appropriate apps for use in the car, and create new ones. Customers will benefit from a car that seamlessly integrates into their digital lives."

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The fully-electric Polestar 2 will debut as a 2021 model.

To assist developers in building apps for the Polestar 2 and other future models that will come embedded with Android Automotive. Google is making it easier for developers to comply with its driver-distraction guidelines and restrictions for in-vehicle apps. Google will also provide media app templates for Android Automotive OS developers to make its easier to build the apps for vehicles.

Polestar is also releasing a new version of its system emulator for the Android Studio development platform, which makes it possible for developers to test voice control and other integrations in their apps, to see exactly how the app will work in the Polestar 2 during the development process. 

Polestar is targeting Tesla with its Polestar 2. It will be more affordable than the Model S with a MSRP of $59,900 in the U.S., yet priced competitively with the Tesla Model 3 Performance and will deliver sportscar-like performance. The electric Polestar 2 is rated at more than 400 horsepower, and can go from zero to 60 mph in about five seconds.

To display all of the available Android Automotive OS apps, the Polestar 2 comes with a 11 inch center-stack touchscreen display.

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