Volvo's Tesla-hunting electric offshoot Polestar has opened up a demonstration website for the user interface it plans to run on the upcoming Polestar 2. Based on Android, it'll include the Google Assistant, Google Play Store and whatever apps you like. Plus, it seems to want to be fun, too.
The Polestar 2 will be a small family BEV (battery electric vehicle) targeted fairly directly at Tesla's Model 3 and priced to match, the company's American CEO Greg Hembrough told Inside EVs. Something for the masses, as the company prepares to take on the Model S with its high-end, 600-horsepower Polestar 1.
About the size of a Model 3 or a BMW 3-series, the Polestar 2 will be a 300-mile all-electric 5-door fastback that promises to hit the market with a few unique touches that haven't been seen yet.
The user interface is one of them. The Polestar 2 will be the first car to completely surrender its interface to the Android operating system. It'll be a vertically oriented touch screen display that works more or less like your phone, receiving updates regularly and enabling the use of apps downloaded through the Play store.
There are plenty of Android-based aftermarket multimedia units on the market already, of course, but this is the first time a car manufacturer has taken Google's open-source touchscreen OS and built it directly into the car. Presumably there's some sort of protection in place to make sure you don't run a movie on VLC while you're driving.
It you want to have a play with it, click on this link from a mobile phone or tablet. There's nothing particularly controversial in there, just a nice clean grid-based UI with Google Assistant, Google Maps, Calendar and Hangouts built in, as well as changeable car settings for the steering feel, stability control, regen braking and forward creep control.
Oh, and a Space Invaders-like video game, which signals that Polestar intends to take Tesla to the mat on every angle possible, including the whole "cars should be fun" thing. Sorry Polestar, but Teslas can make their indicators sound like farts. We'd advise you not to bring a pocket knife to a flamethrower fight.
Still, we're looking forward to learning more details about the Polestar 2. Apparently your phone will be your key, which is nice. And with Google Assistant handling voice control duties, as well as Google Maps in the navigator seat, results stand to be better than most proprietary systems built by car companies.
Precious little detail has been released on the Polestar 2 as yet, and indeed the car is blanked out in some of the UI screens to preserve its pre-launch modesty. But a swift thumb on the screenshot button let us capture a top-down view out of the introduction to the video game, which you can see at the top. Woo.
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