Volvo Car Group’s Polestar 2 will be the first vehicle to launch with Google’s Android Automotive underpinning infotainment. That’s according to recent reports indicating that the official app lineup for the launch has now been revealed.
Not to be confused with Android Auto, Android Automotive is a full-blown Android-based ecosystem. The focus, of course, is apps that follow guidelines aimed to make them distraction-free. And there are a few other restrictions in place too. But Android Automotive will include a variant of the Google Play Store for drivers to download apps.
That’s stacking atop Google apps and services, hands-free Google Assistant-driven interactions, YouTube Music, and integrated Google Maps.
As for the Android Automotive apps themselves
Polestar revealed that the starter apps to be included with the initial launch are mostly related to music or podcasts. That includes the dedicated podcast apps Castbox and Pocket Casts. But podcasts will also be available via Spotify, which is included as a music app. Libby will be part of the bundle too, serving up audiobooks to those that want them.
For radio apps, the choices appear to be a bit more diverse with the Polestar 2 and Android Automotive. The lineup will include iHeartRadio, Swedish Radio Play and NRK Radio, Bauer Media Audio’s Magic Radio and Radioplayer apps.
Connectivity for those, at least with Polestar 2, will be available thanks to three years of included internet connectivity from Volvo.
Volvo isn’t stopping at the Polestar 2 either
While Polestar 2 is expected to land sometime this year, Volvo isn’t limiting Android Automotive to the all-electric fastback. It’s also introducing the apps across all Android Automotive-enhanced vehicles. That includes, the company says, the Volvo XC40 Recharge. And it also includes GM Android Automotive vehicles set to become available in 2021.
That’s good news for both Volvo customers and Android enthusiasts. The arrival of Android Automotive in real-world implementations could pave the way for Google to scale back on Android Auto. Or the opportunity to take advantage of dwindling competition in the space. While the latter ecosystem is widely available, it also isn’t hugely popular — due mostly to a wide number of bugs and glitches over the years.
Android Automotive, first spotted as far back as 2015, could be a viable replacement to help Google cement its position as an infotainment competitor.