Android Automotive is Google’s version of Android for in-car entertainment systems, with its own Play Store and downloadable applications — as opposed to Android Auto, which simply mirrors apps and media from your phone in your car. Vivaldi is one of the most popular web browsers on desktop and mobile platforms, and now it’s coming to Android Automotive.
Vivaldi said in an announcement, “The Vivaldi web browser arrives in Polestar 2, from the pure play, premium electric car company, Polestar. It is the first browser available for Android Automotive OS. Answering one of the top desires from Polestar owners, the inclusion of a full-scale web browser in the car allows people to browse the web as they might on their mobile devices.”
The Polestar 2 was the first production car to ship with Android Automotive, and the Vivaldi port includes tabbed browsing, the ability to stream media (though video playback is hidden while driving), a built-in ad blocker, page translation, notes, tracking protection, and sync with Vivaldi on other devices. The interface looks similar to Vivaldi on tablets, at least from the screenshots provided. The main drawback is that files cannot be downloaded, but that’s probably not too important in a car.
The browser appears to be a great new feature for owners of the Polestar 2, especially given the car is attempting to compete with Tesla’s vehicles (which also have web browsers), but that’s unfortunately the only car Vivaldi is officially compatible with at this point. Vivaldi confirmed to XDA Developers that expanding support to more cars is planned, but for now, anyone with an Automotive car that isn’t a Polestar 2 is out of luck.
Google recently shipped Android Automotive 12, which includes some enhancements from Android 12, interface improvements, new APIs for apps, and the end of support for 32-bit devices. Vivaldi has also been working on updates for its browser on other platforms, such as the recent addition of side panels and multiple tab rows to Vivaldi on Android tablets.