Volkswagen Group to have App Store in Audis, Porsches and more – Robb Report
Forget your smartphone or smartwatch. The next frontier of tech-compatible objects is the smart car.
At least that’s what the Volkswagen Group’s latest announcement would seem like. The auto giant said Wednesday that it is preparing to release an automotive app store that will include all brands from Volkswagen to Audi to Porsche. That means you’ll soon be able to log into Yelp or TikTok from the driver’s seat.
“We want to show this new level of digital experiences,” said Dirk Hilgenberg, CEO of Cariad, VW Group’s in-house software division, in a conversation with The Verge. “We can combine and take advantage [third-party app companies] creating an immersive experience, especially when it comes to play and relaxation.”
The apps available in VW Group cars will be quite diverse, including music, podcasts, video conferencing, weather, games, news and more. All are optimized for in-car use and designed to run from the infotainment system screen. The app store will be available for the first time this summer across the Audi lineup (the A4/A5, Q5, A6/A7, A8, Q8 e-tron and e-tron GT in the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe). More Audi models will follow later in the year, followed by other brands such as Volkswagen, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley.
The in-car app store for VW Group vehicles is interesting for several reasons, noted The Verge. One is that it will be available on internal combustion cars like the Audi A4 and Q5, not just electric vehicles, where such features are likely to become standard equipment. Second, the VW Group has struggled with its software in the past. In fact, software issues were partly responsible for the ousting of the group’s former chief executive.
But figuring out its software problems will be a big part of the VW Group’s push toward electric and connected vehicles. (It hopes to become a world leader in electric vehicles, ahead of companies like Tesla and BYD, The Verge said.) Electric cars of the future will need to rely on successful software from charging to automated driving and new software to power the app store. . will be a good test of these functions.
Unfortunately, the app store will not be available on existing VW Group models via over-the-air updates. So if you’re the kind of person who only needs to have the latest technology, you might as well need a new car.