Any tech-obsessed Android user will know that unless you're using Google's own Pixel devices, updates to the operating system are often months late – and you'll be lucky to see any at all after a few years, with most brands preferring you upgrade to a new device instead.
Volvo – or rather its electric offshoot Polestar – is adamant, however, that its new Android-based infotainment system will "stay as cutting-edge in the future as it is today".
Android Automotive OS debuts in the Polestar 2 as the first vehicle in the world to feature the new platform – and buyers ought to know that despite the confusingly similar name, Android Automotive is a different beast to the phone-based Android Auto interface.
Instead of simply mirroring its features from your Android phone, Android Automotive is the vehicle's native infotainment system, loaded directly into the car's hardware as a standalone Android device in its own right.
Along with native access to Google Maps and 'hey Google' voice activation of Google Assistant, Android Automotive users will have access to the Google Play online store – but you won't be able to load simply any Android app into your car.
As with Android Auto, Android Automotive apps must first be made compatible by their developer.
Already confirmed apps, mostly all from the listening space, include podcast apps Castbox and Pocket Casts (an Australian-made but now American-owned app); library app Libby; radio apps iHeartRadio, Swedish Radio Play and NRK Radio; Bauer Media Audio’s Magic Radio and Radioplayer apps; and of course the popular music and podcast app, Spotify.
The Polestar 2 is supposed to come to Australia later this year, but, as with the XC40 Recharge EV, we could see its debut schedule pushed out to sometime in 2021.
CarAdvice has contacted Volvo Australia for confirmation on its local launch timing.