The Polestar 2 will feature the industry’s first built-in Android Automotive OS, allowing for web browsing, shopping, streaming, and more.  -  Photo courtesy of Polestar.

The Polestar 2 will feature the industry’s first built-in Android Automotive OS, allowing for web browsing, shopping, streaming, and more.

Photo courtesy of Polestar.

On Dec. 22, premium electric car company Polestar announced the release of a web browser for the Polestar 2. The company says the move comes as a call to answer one of the top desires from Polestar owners — the inclusion of a full-scale web browser to use as one might on a mobile device. It is the first browser available for Android Automotive OS.

The app was developed by the Vivaldi team in Norway, and features an 11-inch center display with tabbed browsing, streaming ability, online shopping, and top security measures. The browser includes a built-in ad blocker, privacy-friendly translation tool, notes function, tracking protection, and encrypted sync functionality.

“It’s great that we could answer our owner community’s desire for a browser with Vivaldi as a Christmas present,” says Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO, in the news release. “Now there is a whole new world of web content you can explore in Polestar 2 — even some of your favorite streaming platforms.”

“We are really proud to introduce our browser to a car for the first time, and specifically with a brand like Polestar,” Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner, CEO at Vivaldi, adds. “Our technological and sustainability ambitions are well aligned. We value transparency, privacy, and responsible innovation — including the fact that we have our servers in Iceland, one of Polestar’s newest markets. Like Polestar, we are a challenger brand, and we take a Scandinavian approach to design, that is based on trust and listening to our users.”

Meanwhile, earlier this month, Tesla said it was adding dashboard-mounted video games to its cars, which can be played while the vehicle is running.

Is this just the beginning of a new era of in-vehicle technology and infotainment?

It also begs the question: Are these features safe?

The NHTSA is investigating Tesla for this very question, while Polestar’s announcement included this fine print:

…Files cannot be downloaded and the browser can only be used when parked. To ensure safety, streaming content will continue with audio only, if driving commences. Integrated voice control is being explored for a future release. Private browsing data is not stored by the car. When logged into a Vivaldi account, browsing data may be shared between other devices logged into the same account. This data is not shared with Polestar.

The Vivaldi browser for Polestar 2 is now available in all European, North American, and select Asia Pacific markets.

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