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Polestar Develops its Own Video Streaming App for the Polestar 2 EV

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【Summary】Electric-performance brand Polestar, which is jointly owned by Swedish automaker Volvo and its parent company Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely), has developed its own video streaming app for its Polestar 2, the company's first mass-market electric vehicle. The beta app, which is available now in all European markets, offers web-based streaming content from various providers directly to the vehicle's 11-inch center-mounted touchscreen display.

Eric Walz    May 06, 2021 9:15 AM PT
Polestar Develops its Own Video Streaming App for the Polestar 2 EV
The new video app delivers streaming content when the Polestar 2 is in park or while charging.

Electric-performance brand Polestar, which is jointly owned by Swedish automaker Volvo and its parent company Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely), has developed its own video streaming app for its Polestar 2, the company's first mass-market electric vehicle.

The beta app, which is available now in all European markets, brings web-based streaming content from various providers directly to the 11-inch center-mounted touchscreen display in the Polestar 2 to keep drivers and passengers entertained while the vehicle is in park or while waiting for the battery to charge.

Video streaming content includes news and national TV broadcasts where available, as well as a video playlist curated by Polestar. 

The app includes feeds from SVT in Sweden, TV2 in Norway, and GOPlay and RTBF in Belgium. All European markets also receive feeds from BBC Ideas, which features short films and videos, Al Jazeera English and Germany's Tagesschau. Polestar said that additional video channels specific to other markets will be added over time.

"We have released the new Polestar video app in beta form so that our customers can start to enjoy the benefits of in-car video streaming sooner rather than later," comments Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO. "We will receive feedback – both good and bad – that will help to refine the app based on thousands of use cases, rather than a small, defined set. We will also continue to add channels in the future, which gives the app huge growth potential since it is realistically able to integrate any web-based streams."

Another feature of the video app is if a person is streaming a video and the vehicle is switched out of park the screen turns off but the audio feed continues uninterrupted in the background, allowing occupants to continue to follow the broadcast. 

Data consumed by the app is included in the car's data plan, meaning no extra costs for owners.

The video streaming app represents the future of the auto industry, in which digital services and apps and other add-ons can be downloaded to vehicles via over-the-air software updates for additional revenue streams for automakers for the life of the vehicle. The use of OTA software updates and vehicle connectivity was pioneered in the auto industry by Tesla, now other others are following suit. 

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The Polestar 2 is the world's first vehicle to come with Google's new Android Automotive OS built-in.

The Polestar 2 is the world's first vehicle with an infotainment system built on Google's Android Automotive OS, which allows drivers to use popular Google apps, such Maps and YouTube Music, without having to sync a smartphone. It also allows developers to build custom apps just as easily as apps for smartphones.

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 can offer features like real-time traffic information for navigation. 

The new Android Automotive OS platform streamlines development and testing with an online emulator available in Polestar's developer portal. The emulator It's open to any app developer. The development portal allows Polestar to release new apps for its vehicles more efficiently. 

Polestar owners can also visit the Google Play store and download additional apps to customize their vehicle. Google also provides media app templates for its Android Automotive OS to make its easier for third party developers to build the apps for vehicles.

Apps can be developed and downloaded without the typical long lead times required by the traditional car industry, Polestar said. 

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Polestar is a dedicated performance-oriented electric brand. The company is headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, and its vehicles are available in ten global markets across Europe and North America and China. 

Polestar is competing with Tesla, BMW and other EV startups like Lucid Motors and China's Xpeng. 

The Polestar 2 is a 5-door fastback that's more affordable than the Tesla Model S, with a starting price of $59,900 in the U.S. The vehicle produces over 400 horsepower from its all-wheel-drive electric powertrain and can go from zero to 60 mph in about five seconds. It comes with a 78 kWh battery pack with a WLTP range of 292 miles (470 km). 

The performance-oriented Polestar 2 is also being positioned as a direct competitor to Tesla's mass-market Model 3.

Last month, Polestar announced it raised $550 million in its first ever outside investment round.

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