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Polestar Developer Portal

It’s the goal of every carmaker to get people in their cars. There are a seemingly endless number of catchphrases, taglines and mottos in the world of automotive, stretching from the cliché to the incomprehensible. But if one reads between the lines, the message is clear: this car is good. Get in it.

It’s been a unique project because my team and I had to step back and reflect on what we would want from a developer portal.

It’s a given that we also want people to experience Polestar cars for themselves, rather than only reading about them (Editor’s note: we are glad you’re reading about them though). Where we differ is to the degree. We want people to get into our car, but not just as drivers, passengers or customers. As developers.

Via the Polestar Developer Portal.

First going live around the time of Google I/O 2019, the portal is where developers of every stripe can find the tools, guidance, and inspiration needed to create and test apps for Polestar 2. And it’s just been relaunched. “It’s been a unique project because my team and I had to step back and reflect on what we would want from a developer portal,” says Polestar Developer and Team Lead Erik Grimmbråten. “What content we’re most interested in, what attracts us to develop for a specific platform, and so on.” 

And the platform that is the Android Automotive OS is very attractive indeed, especially for those coming from an Android development background. “The Polestar OS is such a nice, familiar experience,” claims Grimmbråten. “I could instantly pick up the basics and start using it right away.”

When asked about his opinion on the third-party apps already available for Polestar 2, Grimmbråten sang the praises of two in particular: Spotify and EasyPark. “The first thing I did when I got in my Polestar 2 for the first time was download Spotify,” he states. “I can’t imagine a car without Spotify in the centre display! Also, with EasyPark, I don’t have to worry about paying for parking after I’ve driven off.”

The most noticeable difference between mobile and vehicle app development is testing. One can buy a smartphone or tablet to get the “real” experience. Buying a car for these purposes isn’t as easily done. This is where the Polestar Emulator comes in.

The Polestar 2 Emulator for Android Studio features a full implementation of Google apps and services: Google Assistant for voice control, Google Maps for navigation, and Google Play for access to apps. These features, along with the Polestar-specific system image, provide a preview of the same control and visuals for apps as can be found in Polestar 2.  

The Polestar Developer Portal is, all told, another way to get people into Polestar 2. Just not through the doors. And this is only the beginning.

“There is more that I want to do with the portal,” says Service Designer Anya Ernest. “But waiting for the platform to be perfect is like trying to catch a rainbow. That we have our emulator, our process and a way for developers to get in contact is a huge step in the right direction.”

And the developer community has responded with enthusiasm.

“The best part about this project has been the channel we’ve established between external developers and Polestar,” concludes Grimmbråten. “I can’t wait to see what we’ll achieve together as a community!”

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