Volvo’s futuristic performance brand Polestar released the first teaser image of its second car this week (seen above). The aptly named Polestar 2 will be Volvo’s first all-electric car, and has specs (on paper, at least) that match up with some of the best EVs that are about to hit the road. It will also be the first car to run Google’s native version of Android Auto — something the tech conglomerate has spent the last few years working on.
At the I/O, in 2018, Google showed off a working version of this on a Volvo XC40. While it looked a lot like Volvo’s own Sensus infotainment system, the SUV’s screen was really powered by Android P. It also had a dedicated Google Assistant button on the steering wheel, which could be used to play music, get directions, or even change the cabin temperature. Here’s what The Verge’s tech editor Natt Garun said at the time:
It features an updated UI with four menu bars that you can slide to reveal more control modules. The tiles on the updated UI are big and colorful — app icons stand out more clearly, and overall it feels like there’s an Android tablet strapped to the center of the car, down to the center home button. You can also drag down from the top like you would on a smartphone to see notifications. In the new system, there’s now a Google Play button that lets you browse and install Android Auto-approved apps, such as Deezer, Pocketcasts, or Telegram. The goal is not to be distracted on the road, so video apps like YouTube will specifically be left out.
Google has lent help to automakers in developing infotainment systems before — like combining Fiat Chrysler’s Uconnect with Android Nougat — but the partnership with Volvo is the most fully baked attempt at using Android to power the screens inside a car.