This year, watching videos from the driver’s seat is all the rage. One week after Mercedes-Benz revealed that its upcoming E-Class vehicles would include apps like TikTok and YouTube, Volkswagen Group revealed an in-car app store that will include TikTok, Spotify, and several other entertainment options.
In addition to the titular company, the Volkswagen Group includes automakers like Audi and Porsche. Its incoming app store will debut on Audi vehicles over the summer. If you want to browse your favorite apps while parked, you’ll need to purchase a car from Audi’s 2023 lineup. Older Volkswagen makes will not receive the hi-tech solution, though they are expected to receive upgrades to their infotainment systems.
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Early partners for Volkswagen’s app store include TikTok, Spotify, Yelp, and Cisco WebEx. The platform was designed by Volkswagen’s in-house software division, Cariad. That unit launched in 2020 after years of complaints about the automaker’s substandard technology.
“It’s a new level of digital experiences we want to show,” said Cariad CEO Dirk Hilgenberg during a press call. “We can combine and leverage with [third-party apps], creating an immersive experience, especially as far as gaming, relaxing is concerned.”
Reports on the upgraded infotainment system have not said whether Volkswagen vehicles will get any safety measures to prevent drivers from browsing apps while in motion. The Mercedes version of this feature limits TikTok usage to parked vehicles only.
There’s another big question about Volkswagen’s big development: Will Google’s valuable apps make an appearance on the in-car store in the future? A few days after bringing TikTok to its new makes, Mercedes revealed that YouTube and Google Maps would also come to the E-Class line.
A Google integration would help Volkswagen stay on par in the suddenly competitive world of in-car entertainment. The German company — which is the world’s second-largest automaker — said it is negotiating a deal that would bring Google Maps to its app store.