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 confused
with standard Android Auto, which requires an Android phone. This is purpose-built for
cars 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 different
version of the software. It’s been totally revamped,
totally redesigned, so that now it works on
a portrait style tablet, like you’d see in a Tesla vehicle. (groovy music) Here in the Polestar 2, it’s
been 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 information
up here on the top right, you’ve got the status of your
phone here on the bottom left, and then you’ve also got
navigation from Google Maps up here on the top left. One of the best features
of Android Automotive is that you don’t just
control 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 temperature
inside the vehicle. Okay Google… Set the temperature to 70. (ding) – [Assistant] Sure, changing
the temperature to 70 degrees. – [Nick] With Android Automotive, you don’t need an Android phone, you don’t even need a
phone at all, actually. It’s all built right
here into the car itself. If you wanna play from Spotify, you can just say, “Okay Google…” Play “You Lit My Fire.” (ding) – [Assistant] Alright, You
Lit 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 natively
from the car’s display. In addition to the eleven
inch display you have here, Polestar has it’s own 12.3 inch display that it has right here
above the steering wheel. That can actually mirror
software from Android Automotive. Right now, you have a
Google 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 Google
Maps navigation right here in the middle so you
never lose sight of it. You don’t have to look over, you don’t have to take
your eyes off the road, that kinda thing. Now this can actually be
customized in one of three modes. This is the navigation mode. You can actually put it
into 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 where
it’s telling you information from all the car’s sensors. Like with standard Android
Auto, Android Automotive gives you all the same
hands-free features. So you can receive texts, phone calls, you could do it all
using your voice as well. For as nice as Android
Automotive is, it’s not coming to a car near you any
time 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 support
for Android Automotive, and they wanna use it in their cars. We just don’t know when
that’s gonna show up, and which models it’s going to support. The good news is, Google has also updated
standard Android Auto, the one that comes right from your phone, and we’re able to check it out. The new Android Auto, when
you press this button here, launches you now right into Maps and it also still has your
media 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 bar
down here that has contextual information from your other
apps running simultaneously so you don’t have to switch
between 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’re
in you can change songs, you can pause, you can
add to your playlist. You also notice this
whole new menu bar layout, it’s a little bit more easier
to understand, easier to use. Instead of having too
many things on the screen you’ve got this row up here that is your most commonly
used apps in each category. Of course, for something like
Android 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 the
actual 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 And for video deep dives of the Pixel 3A, the Nest Hub Max and Android Q check us out on YouTube at Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “Volvo’s new Android-powered Polestar 2 hands-on

  1. That console need to be re-design, those side lips are way too high blocking both the driver and front passenger to access the features on the screen, specially those at the lower part of the screen.

  2. I really hope the devs have put more work into automotive than they have with auto. Android auto is a horrible piece of software that I have a love/hate relationship with every day.

  3. Definitely nothing close to Tesla control system especially when it comes to updates. Whenever Android is customized there would be no update.

  4. The implementation looks awful. Also why does Google assistant have to talk so much? Surely 'ok' or 'confirmed' would suffice.

  5. I assume that the car has emergency brake assist. Because you won't be paying attention to the road whilst playing with that pointless touchscreen.

  6. Looks very distracting and much slower to me than standard controls. Instead of giving the command, waiting, listening to the response, check if it is correctly applied, I just turn the dial without looking and I’m done. Faster, less distracting, safer. This is not progress in my opinion. Until they’re not completely self driving this is useless to me.

  7. Isn’t the point of Android/apple car stuff that technology is always evolving and cars were staying behind? So we made it so our phones that are always evolving will bring our cars to the future with us. We don’t have to get a new car to update our car systems . I think moving away from the phone controlling this is a step backwards. Instead make android auto more intertwined with the car don’t make it the actual car. Because by the time this is released, it will already be obsolete.

  8. This will confuse the HELL out of my phone. Whenever I am home, and I say "ok google, turn on the lights" my phone and my google home both say "ok, turning on 2 lights" LIKE WTF, I'm home, I don't need my phone responding when I was talking to my google home. I will obviously have my phone with me when I'm driving this car so I KNOW I will not be able to talk to my car to turn down the temperature or open Spotify because I know my phone will start responding and it will get very confused.

  9. One, the software and Googles response time looks really slow. Two, this car is 63K before taxes at the base model. The base model Tesla 3 is close to half that price.

  10. * Can I see Android automotive read tier pressure and friction?
    * I that possible control my fuel injection system?
    * Is that possible drive remote and control ?

  11. I like that it takes 5 times longer for Google assistant to turn down the temperature than to just press the minus button twice

  12. I hope Google takes Android Auto seriously this is huge consistent updates to maps and the software is something that I love but with the software from Auto makers it's just bleh 😣 I'm really looking forward to to having AA in my own car in the future.

  13. My car has also Google assistant built-in. It´s the worst while driving because she NEVER hears the right words. So kinda useless.

  14. Finally a car that could compete with Tesla apart from the Taycan. Ipace and e-tron are so sad 🙁

  15. For some reason I have a very positive view on the brand google but a negative view on the brand android. Is this just me? (I know they are both google)

  16. How come no one is talking about the fact that this may just be another way of Google to collect more in-depth data about you? No thanks

  17. Thanks for saying Ok Google so many times! Why wouldn't you mute that part? Is this your first YouTube review???

  18. Due to Trump's executive order I don't see this coming to fruition. Android can't be working with those communist in China anymore.

  19. Joke aside, I want this infotainment system to be mainstream and maybe other Car Manufacturers could use the software running their own skin.

  20. How does a channel like this not understand you can't say the words "OK google" in videos these days?

    Kmon guys, even channels with a few hundred thousand subs have been keeping the keywords (hi alexa, ok google, whatever activates siri) out of their videos for some time.

  21. This is it, all future cars will eventually have this and a large touch screen, min 10 inch. Most manufacturers so slow to catch on.

  22. this is great and all, but i don't think we should refer this brand as part of volvo anymore. sure they do use the same platform for the cars, but it's the same as huawei and honor, they are separated brands with separated teams, etc.

  23. Cool that at least Volvo is admitting tech companies are better at UX/UI. Volvo's isn't as bad as a lot of companies (eg FCA, Ford, BMW) but this is better. That said, they need to use better hardware. There were obvious lags in this implementation vs the latter part where guy is using Android Auto (prob with a flagship Android Phone). It's kind of sad if they aren't putting in hardware that matches a Pixel in a $60k car. It may be that this is pre-production and not optimized. If not, they should benchmark off of Tesla Model 3. It's seamless, with no UI slowdown.

  24. So there's no display of adaptive cruise control in the instrument panel of Polestar 2, to let you see/change distances from the car in front of you?

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