September 11, 2023
Automaker Polestar is set to elevate car connectivity to the next level – by launching its new model with its very own phone.
The Swedish manufacturer, owned by Geely, is taking a radical step in the Chinese market with the Polestar 4 coupe-SUV.
Customers of the car will be given the opportunity to purchase a smartphone that has been designed to integrate specifically with the vehicle.
The plan appears to have been born out of frustration that connectivity between existing cars and devices is still not as seamless as users might wish for, and was revealed by Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath in an interview with CNBC at the recent IAA Mobility Show in Munich, Germany.
Ingenlath expressed his dissatisfaction with current tech, citing how sometimes it was even difficult to get an SMS displayed in a car.
Polestar will seek to address these failings by offering a smartphone that works on the same operating system as the car, making integration effortless.
It is understood the phone will bear the Polestar name, but be manufactured by Chinese company Xingji Meizu.
Geely has a majority stake in Meizu, and in June Polestar announced that it had entered into a joint venture with the firm to develop smart technologies.
Meizu is generally accepted to operate in the mid-tier of China’s smartphone market, but Ingenlath said his company’s new device would be a “premium” product.
As with the Chinese-market Polestar 4, it will run on Meizu’s FlyMe operating system.
For users, this will deliver better functionality, with, for example, apps displayed simultaneously on the phone and dashboard screen on entering the car. It will also allow them to remotely control features in the vehicle.
While a bold move, Polestar’s idea is not unique, with Chinese EV manufacturer NIO also set to launch its own smartphone later this year.
It underscores that in China at least, where electric cars are soaring in popularity, cutting-edge technology is very much key to sales success.
Ingenlath acknowledged this, saying: “It’s not just good enough to bring a great European design to China, you have to be very, very special about what you offer to the market when it comes to software.”
The Polestar 4 promises to deliver on that front. As well as the phone, it will also be the first car in the world to feature Israeli company Mobileye’s “hands-off, eyes off” Chauffeur self-driving tech.
Chauffeur promises “point-to-point autonomous driving on highways, as well as eyes-on automated driving for other environments, in identified operational design domains.” But it is not being offered at the Polestar 4’s launch, with the firm yet to confirm exactly when it will be made available.
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