Volvo's new Android-powered Polestar 2 hands-on

– So we're here at Google I/O 2019 checking out Android Automotive.

Now, that's not to be confusedwith standard Android Auto, which requires an Android phone.

This is purpose-built forcars from the ground up.

You don't need an Android phone, you don't even need a smartphone at all.

It just works right on the in-car display.

Here at I/O, we have Volvo's Polestar 2.

It's an all-electric car, and it's gonna be the very first vehicle to get Android Automotive.

Now we saw Android Automotive, a earlier version of it last year retrofitted to a Volvo XC40.

This is a completely differentversion of the software.

It's been totally revamped, totally redesigned, so that now it works ona portrait style tablet, like you'd see in a Tesla vehicle.

(groovy music) Here in the Polestar 2, it'sbeen specifically designed to take advantage of Android Automotive.

So it's got four quadrants right here.

You've got media down here, you've got car informationup here on the top right, you've got the status of yourphone here on the bottom left, and then you've also gotnavigation from Google Maps up here on the top left.

One of the best featuresof Android Automotive is that you don't justcontrol your phone with this, you're actually controlling the car, because it's built directly into the car.

For instance, you can use Google Assistant to change the temperatureinside the vehicle.

Okay Google.



Set the temperature to 70.

(ding) – [Assistant] Sure, changingthe temperature to 70 degrees.

– [Nick] With Android Automotive, you don't need an Android phone, you don't even need aphone at all, actually.

It's all built righthere into the car itself.

If you wanna play from Spotify, you can just say, “Okay Google.



” Play “You Lit My Fire.

” (ding) – [Assistant] Alright, YouLit My Fire by Ane Brun.

Here it is on Spotify.

(You Lit My Fire by Ane Brun)- [Nick] And there you go.

Playing right here nativelyfrom the car's display.

In addition to the eleveninch display you have here, Polestar has it's own 12.

3 inch display that it has right hereabove the steering wheel.

That can actually mirrorsoftware from Android Automotive.

Right now, you have aGoogle Maps custom display, so it tells you your speed, it tells you what gear you're in, also tells you your charge and your power down here on the right, but it has the GoogleMaps navigation right here in the middle so younever lose sight of it.

You don't have to look over, you don't have to takeyour eyes off the road, that kinda thing.

Now this can actually becustomized in one of three modes.

This is the navigation mode.

You can actually put itinto a different mode, more of a minimalist one, where you just have speed and power right here in the middle.

It's actually got one more mode too, where if you go from here, from the minimalist mode, you can go right into one whereit's telling you information from all the car's sensors.

Like with standard AndroidAuto, Android Automotive gives you all the samehands-free features.

So you can receive texts, phone calls, you could do it allusing your voice as well.

For as nice as AndroidAutomotive is, it's not coming to a car near you anytime soon, unfortunately.

It's gonna start in the Polestar 2, then Volvo says it's gonna bring it to other Volvo cars later on.

Some other car manufacturers like Nissan, Mitsubishi, Audi, and Fiat Chrysler, they've all announced supportfor Android Automotive, and they wanna use it in their cars.

We just don't know whenthat's gonna show up, and which models it's going to support.

The good news is, Google has also updatedstandard Android Auto, the one that comes right from your phone, and we're able to check it out.

The new Android Auto, whenyou press this button here, launches you now right into Maps and it also still has yourmedia playing right away.

As soon as you navigate somewhere here.



It'll now keep that navigation going when you switch back to the home screen.

Now on this new version of Android Auto, you've got this menu bardown here that has contextual information from your otherapps running simultaneously so you don't have to switchbetween apps anymore.

You just have Maps down here.

If you're running Spotify, for instance.



You can kill the navigation.

It'll keep this running down here, so no matter what app you'rein you can change songs, you can pause, you canadd to your playlist.

You also notice thiswhole new menu bar layout, it's a little bit more easierto understand, easier to use.

Instead of having toomany things on the screen you've got this row up here that is your most commonlyused apps in each category.

Of course, for something likeAndroid Auto, that's gonna be navigation, media, and then communication.

They've also got this whole”Dark Theme” which makes it blends a lot better into theactual interior of the car.

It's no longer super distracting or super eye-popping colors.

It's also got right down here, this notification bar.

You've also got these Assistant shortcuts for all these apps here.

So just pressing it will activate Assistant for the weather, for your reminders here.

Calendar for your schedule.

And also for Google News for recent headlines.

So another cool car related feature Google is announcing, is Google Assistant's ability to remotely control your car.

Now this doesn't require Android Auto or anything like that.

This requires you have an Android phone with Google Assistant.

And you have a Hyundai or Daimler vehicle, which are going to be the first two brands to support it in the coming months.

Eventually you'll be able to use Google Assistant, and talk into your phone to lock and unlock your doors.

change the temperature of your car, and also check your fuel gadge so you know how far you'll be able to drive.

For all The Verge's coverage of Google I/O 2019, check us out at theverge.


And for video deep dives of the Pixel 3A, the Nest Hub Max and Android Q check us out on YouTube at YouTube.


Thanks for watching.


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