Volvo is preparing to launch its first all-electric car - the XC40 SUV - and it's going to town teasing new features. The latest is that it's going all-in with Google, sitting on Android Automotive for a new infotainment system.
That might not come as huge surprise, as it follows the Polestar 2 in using Google's automotive solution. While that is great news for Google natives and Android users, the Polestar also works with the iPhone and we have no doubt that the electric XC40 will too.
So what do you get from Volvo? It looks as though it's running on the same 9-inch display found in the existing XC40, sitting vertically in the centre of the car. The interface immediately screams Google at you, displaying Google Maps, Spotify and Google Assistant in big sections.
Other icons within the user interface are for the phone, while climate control sits at the bottom and some shortcut controls sit at the top - camera, menu, contacts (maybe?) and car. It's not fully clear what these will access, but we'll know more when the car launches on 16 October.
Using Android Automotive means that you'll get these Google services natively - and that means some of the best mapping and searching that you'll find online. It's also going to updated over the air, so these things always remain up to date.
In addition, Volvo makes the point that using Android Automotive means that this is a familiar environment for developers and there is going to be access to Google Play to get apps and services relevant to your car. That should, for example, mean you can download the music service of your preference, rather than having to jump through hoops to get to the music you want.
On top of that, using Google Assistant means you're using one of the best - if not the best - voice assistants in the business. Yes, there have been a number of great moves from other manufacturers recently, but Google really is leading the pack. While that means you'll be able to control your smart home devices from your car, it remains to be seen whether it will be as deeply integrated into the car's controls as something like Hey BMW.
Volvo confirms that you'll be able to send messages, set the temperature and control navigation and music with voice, so we have high hope for it as a system.
In addition to the Google software side of things, Volvo will also develop its Volvo On Call system, it's smartphone-based app. This will let you monitor your car remotely, precondition the cabin and check the charge levels.
The Volvo XC40 is shaping up to be an exciting little techy car. There isn't an abundance of electric SUVs at the moment and the electric XC40 might just hit all the right notes. We'll see a full reveal on 16 October.