Chromium-based browser Vivaldi has ported its eponymous Android Tablet browser to Android Automotive, making it the first web browser on the operating system and available in the Polestar 2 electric car.
Electric cars and browsers have been a thing for a while; a Chromium-based browser has lurked within Teslas, but for cars running Android Automotive on their dashboards, options were limited.
Its presence on the Polestar 2, Swedish carmaker Volvo's sub-brand, was announced prior to the vehicle's availability last year. Unlike Android Auto, which simply mirrors Android apps from a device onto a car's information and entertainment display, Android Automotive is designed to be embedded within the vehicle itself.
However, despite the presence of all manner of apps, one omission from the world of Android Automotive on the Polestar 2 was a browser, much to the bafflement of some drivers (judging by forum posts on the matter).
"Why the hell don't we have a basic web browser?" asked one driver.
A reasonable question; after all, it's not as if Google doesn't have in its claws in a good many devices around the world thanks to Chrome.
Enter Vivaldi, which has popped its browser into the Google Play Store in Polestar 2. The company told The Register the browser was "the full tablet experience," just without downloads. While only Polestar 2 owners get to play at the moment, Vivaldi's aim is to make its browser available to all other cars running Android Automotive.
- Volvo V60 Polestar: Speak softly, carry a big stick, dress like a Smurf
- Power management IC shortage holding cars, laptops, hostage
- Server errors plague app used by Tesla drivers to unlock their MuskMobiles
- Self-driving towards an IPO? Intel unveils plans for Mobileye offering
Being pretty much the full browser experience means that drivers get ad-blocking, tabbed browsing and all the goodies their tablet-owning chums are used to. Provided they have parked up first, of course. Get rolling again, and streaming content will continue in audio-only form.
It makes sense; one would not want drivers jabbing away at the touchscreen while their vehicle thunders down the highway.
"We have listened to our owner community," said Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO, "and it's great that we could answer their desire for a browser with Vivaldi as a nice Christmas present."
It's a handy addition to the Polestar 2, especially when sitting around waiting for the car to charge up. The Vivaldi browser app for Android Automotive is available in all European, North American, and Asia Pacific markets and will get updates alongside the company's other supported platforms (Windows, macOS, Linux and Android). ®