Cars are becoming multimedia hubs on wheels. With incredible sound systems, digital screens and always-on connectivity, the in-car experience is developing as rapidly as progress under the hood.
Polestar, the innovative Swedish EV brand, is one of the leaders in this area, seemingly announcing new tech partnerships and innovations every other month.
Streaming in the Polestar 2
Polestar 2 was the first car on the market to feature Google’s Android Automotive OS with Google built-in when it launched in 2019, and is now continuing to pioneer the intuitive infotainment experience with the addition of Prime Video. Accessible to stream content while parked or charging (not while the car is being driven!), Prime Video joins YouTube which launched in Polestar 2 in June 2023.
Polestar 2 has also featured the Vivaldi web browser since December 2021, unlocking web access to other entertainment services that may not yet have a native in-car app.
Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO, comments: “The successful launch and integration of Android Automotive OS in Polestar 2 has proven that we can leverage the best navigation and voice control in the business to make life with a Polestar easier. The Google Play store has also gained a rich variety of apps that offer interactivity and entertainment, from playing games to streaming series.”
A Polestar phone
The forthcoming Polestar 4 is also getting another connectivity make-over. The company is gearing up to launch its latest model, the Polestar 4 coupe-SUV, in the Chinese market, accompanied by its own branded smartphone.
This audacious move stems from the company’s dissatisfaction with the current state of connectivity between vehicles and mobile devices. Polestar’s CEO, Thomas Ingenlath, voiced these concerns during a recent interview at the IAA Mobility Show in Munich. He highlighted problems such as the difficulty in displaying an SMS on a car’s screen.
To counter these challenges, Polestar’s solution is a smartphone that shares the same operating system as the vehicle, ensuring seamless integration. This phone, while bearing the Polestar insignia, will be crafted by the Chinese firm Xingji Meizu. Notably, Geely (the owner of Polestar) holds a significant stake in Meizu, and earlier this year, Polestar revealed a joint venture with Meizu to pioneer smart technologies.
Buyers of the Polestar 4 will be able to get a Polestar-branded mobile phone that’s been designed to integrate perfectly with the car.
Although Meizu is recognized for its mid-range offerings in China’s smartphone arena, Ingenlath assures that Polestar’s device will be positioned as a premium product. In line with the Chinese version of the Polestar 4, the phone will operate on Meizu’s FlyMe OS. This promises enhanced functionality for users, such as simultaneous app displays on both the phone and the car’s dashboard. Additionally, it will grant users the ability to remotely access certain car features.
However, Polestar isn’t the sole player in this game. Chinese EV giant NIO is also on track to unveil its smartphone later this year. This trend underscores the pivotal role of avant-garde technology in driving sales, especially in China, where electric vehicles are gaining rapid traction.
Ingenlath commented on this, stating, ““It’s not just good enough to bring a great European design to China, you have to be very, very special about what you offer to the market when it comes to software.”
The Polestar 4 is poised to meet these expectations. Beyond the smartphone, it is set to be the first car globally to incorporate the “hands-off, eyes off” Chauffeur autonomous driving technology from Israeli firm Mobileye. While this feature promises highway point-to-point autonomous driving and eyes-on automation for other terrains, its availability date for the Polestar 4 remains undisclosed.