When you think about all the features Google continues to add to Android Auto, one that probably doesn’t come to mind is a web browser—for obvious safety reasons. However, the company Vivaldi just released the first native Android Auto web browser for Polestar vehicles, and it’s not as dangerous as it sounds.
Vivaldi states that this is the first browser available for the Android Auto OS and one of the first full-featured browsers available in cars. It’s worth noting that this is only available for the Polestar 2 EV, with the company planning to bring it to more Polestar vehicles in the future.
We know what you’re all thinking. Being able to browse the web, YouTube, and Reddit while you drive or are stuck in traffic doesn’t sound too safe. And don’t worry, you can’t do that. Vivaldi believes it has several options, settings, and safety features in place to ensure it can deliver a powerful web browser experience in cars, complete with tabbed browsing, games, and more, all while remaining safe.
- Safety: To ensure safety, the Vivaldo browser can only be used when parked. Streaming content will switch to audio-only if you leave park and start driving. Files cannot be downloaded, and several other safety restrictions may apply.
- Privacy: 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.
- Features: Tabbed browsing, video streaming, ad blocker, translation tools, notes function, tracking protection, and encrypted sync functionality.
“We are really proud to introduce our browser to a car for the first time and specifically with a brand like Polestar. 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,” says Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner, CEO at Vivaldi.
As you can see, the web browser only works when the vehicle is parked, and once you start driving at all it basically becomes unusable. That said, if a video is playing, it’ll switch to audio-only mode so drivers can continue enjoying content, all without being distracted by a video. The company didn’t explain any other potential safety features or restrictions it may have in place.
Vivaldi already offers a powerful web browser for Android devices, one which you can get from the Google Play Store. However, today’s announcement has that same browser being expanded to the ever-growing list of vehicles running Android Auto.
The Vivaldi Android Auto web browser for Polestar 2 is available now in all European, North American, and Asia Pacific markets. Owners can find it on the Google Play Store inside their car. We expect the browser to also be available in the upcoming Polestar 3 SUV coming in 2022, the Polestar 4, and future vehicles.