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Volvo's new Android-based infotainment system will launch in the Polestar 2

The new Google-powered infotainment will roll out to all Volvo cars in the next couple of years.

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Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
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Volvo Google Infotainment
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Volvo Google Infotainment

Volvo's next-generation infotainment system will use Android software.

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Volvo and Google are hard at work on a new Android-based infotainment system. The companies detailed their new in-car tech earlier this year, but at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, Volvo's research and development executive, Henrik Green, told Roadshow that the new infotainment system won't launch in a Volvo, but in the Polestar 2 electric sedan.

"We're rolling it out starting in the CMA platform, and the first car will actually be the Polestar 2," Green said Wednesday in an interview. Expanding on that, Green confirmed the new infotainment interface "will follow afterwards in the Volvo CMA vehicles -- the ."

That said, it won't be long before every Volvo's in-car tech is powered by Google's Android software. "After [XC40], it will roll out in the SPA cars, the larger vehicles," Green said. "It will go into all of our Volvo vehicles. Even before we launch SPA 2 [in 2021] it will have rolled out in almost all the Volvo vehicles."

The Android-based infotainment system will bring a number of Google services right into Volvo cars. Navigation will all be handled by Google Maps . Google Assistant will provide voice recognition capability. Even apps like Spotify and Alexa will be available, embedded in the Android operating system.

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The Volvo 40.2 Concept very closely previews the design of the upcoming Polestar 2 EV.

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If you're an iPhone user, don't worry, Apple CarPlay will still be available, and iOS devices will work seamlessly with the new Volvo system.

"Android is just under the hood ... the Google services are things that are running on top of that," Google director of product management Mickey Kataria told Roadshow during the same interview. " Apple Music , for example, runs on an Android phone today. It could run on an Android-based car just as well."

Right now, Volvo and Google are finalizing exactly how the system will look and feel.

"We are designing the face of the screen, we are doing that together," Green said. "It's not completely finished yet."

"This is a natural upgrade," Green continued, agreeing to a comment that the updated infotainment system could look like a sort of hybrid of Android Auto and Volvo's current Sensus interface. "We're taking the opportunity to make it a bit fresh. If you're a previous Volvo owner, you will feel comfortable enough that you know where you are, but at the same time it will give you some new and fresh experience."

Volvo XC40 R-Design has black exterior accents and lava on the floor

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