Tesla CEO: Model S will support third-party apps

Tesla CEO: Model S will support third-party apps

Tesla CEO: Model S will support third-party apps

Good news, bad news...

Hope the apps will be well fenced, limited in scope, and undergo heavy testing, Tesla's approval and controlled distribution. Having dealt with buggy third-party code... brrrr... scary... frozen systems, looping apps... "blue screen of death" gets a really scary meaning.

dasky4eva | 17 mars 2011

Don't have to install them. :)

Tiebreaker | 17 mars 2011

Yeah, but others will :-P

Anyway it will be great to have a variety of good apps and customize Model S. I wouldn't mind if it reads me the news, or a book on long trips.

Volker.Berlin | 18 mars 2011

Rumor has it that Tesla's "built-in tablet" is based on RIM's PlayBook. In this case, all I can say is: Enjoy!

Given the investment that Google has in Tesla, I had always assumed that Tesla would choose some Android/ChromeOS-based solution (by the time the Model S becomes available, Android and ChromeOS will most probably have merged, anyway). Does anyone have any insights on which platform they will actually use and why? Where is the source that says that they will use the PlayBook OS? Is it just the Tegra 2 hardware?

speedmind | 18 mars 2011

As a mobile developer and a petrolhead (for now) I've always been looking for ways to combine both worlds (ranging from things like OpenLR to Windows Embedded Automotive 7 Solutions (formerly Microsoft Auto) and many things in between.

A couple of months ago (around CES) I've done a little bit of research into what platform was available to Tesla for them to use in this space and armed with the knowledge that they'd be using a Tegra 2 chip I've started looking for a platform that would already have such support and I've come to the conclusion that this platform is most probably QNX CAR.

Here's my reasoning to this conclusion:

An impressive ecosystem ranging from car manufacturers to software and middleware providers that covers a very wide range of features (Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz among others).
Support for nVIDIA's Tegra2 platform with evidence dating back to 2010Q1 in Foundry27 (the community portal for QNX software developers)
QNX has been acquired by RIM around the same time and sure enough months later a tablet is announced.
LTE Connected Car is almost an "out-of-the box" feature (video) and if you look at some screenshots there's a lot of visual queues that very closely resemble what we've seen on the 17" legendary by now dash mounted touch screen down to the presumably default color scheme of the platform.

So while I'm not expecting to see just a bigger Blackberry Playbook on the dash there's a lot of similarities bewteen the two platforms it would yield to some interesting synergies. In short if there's a company that has resources in both domains RIM is one very viable option today as far as I'm concerned.

Having discussed the matter in the past with Microsoft in the past (back at TechEd 2009) the idea behind platforms such as QNX CAR and Microsoft Auto is not to directly enable 3rd party developers to run their apps directly on the device (the car that is), but rather allow integration between the two (the 3rd pary app and the car) via a well defined API (such as Ford's AppLink). The reason behind this restriction if fairly obvious, but it comes down to who's the owner of the platform and the answer is the car manufacturer. As such I don't see Fiat, Ford, etc providing software support to end users. Legal obligations also come into play with car manufacturers having to comply to regulations that require a minimum or distrations for the driver. Finally with release cycles being very different between the car's platform and apps there's no reason you'd want apps running directly on your car's hardware (can you imagine having to worry about app downloads while on the road?).

Ultimately what it comes down to is that you'd want to consume services locally or in the cloud while driving and editing google docs or playing Angry Birds on the go, while possible is not exactly ideal or permitted for that matter. So it's up to the platform provider (Tesla in our case) to validate what's feasible and/or possible on their platform.

So all this to say that it's only good news as far as I'm concerned, but it could be just me being an optimist...


Brian H | 18 mars 2011

Be careful what you wish for:

Opening up to "apps" is asking for it.

Pungoteague_Dave | 23 janvier 2016

Throwback Sunday. What ever happened to apps? This from five years back.

Chunky Jr. | 23 janvier 2016

Coming soon. Where now < soon < ∞ | 24 janvier 2016

Maybe Tesla is waiting to see if owners of cars with Carplay and Android Auto crash a lot while scrolling through millions of apps trying to find the best app to play tetris on the screen while driving. :)

As an app developer, I thought it would be cool to write some apps for our cars. Over time, I concluded in the US legal environment, anyone that crashes while an app is active will sue the hell out of the app developer along with everyone else, even if they have nothing to with the accident. So you might make a few hundred dollars on sales and spend tens of thousands on lawyers.

I'm also not sure Tesla want liability that goes along distributing third-party apps. They would also have to spend millions to vet submitted apps. Perhaps Apple and Google have deep enough pockets to support car apps, I'm really not sure Tesla does.

ian | 24 janvier 2016 - couldn't that legal stuff simply be dealt with via sign-up agreement for the app - ensuring the driver is responsible; much like Tesla does for Autopilot?

Haggy | 24 janvier 2016

Doesn't GM have something that allows an app on your phone to use the screen in the car for things such as navigation, and others not controlled by the car?

risquared | 24 janvier 2016

Good job Elon on the 5 years old promise.
No API yet.
Speech recognoition --> my Tesla knows 4 words. Siri, Cortana, Iris - they know about 5,000.
For example it takes one word (speech) and two manual actions (press buttons on the screen) to dial a phone number. My 10 years old Mercedes does better than that.

Actually if Tesla addresses the first problem (open an API) all other problems will be resolved by itself by many app developers. Remember Apple has the lousiest apps on the iPhone. All the good stuff is by third parties.

stevenmaifert | 24 janvier 2016

Apparently Elon didn't have his way. | 24 janvier 2016

@ian - Not sure how much those contracts will hold up in court. Even with contracts, unreasonable people will sue you, even it is meritless. It still costs a small fortune to defend yourself in these cases.

@risquared - What 5 year promise?

More than a year before the first Model S was sold, Elon apparently stated “We want people to develop car-specific applications”.

No promise I can see here in either timeframe or what Tesla would do or even if this was for Tesla. He might have been referring to his own developers for all we know.

More interesting was in Munich video (Oct-2013) Elon states they were considering an Android emulator to run third party apps. This video is queued up to the area where he talks about apps:
(He also talks about upgrading the browser to Chrome, but no timeframe).

I thought I also heard in an Elon Q&A about maybe allowing third-party apps at the end of 2014. I think it might have been Teslive (Jul-2013). Anyway, I may be wrong, but I've never heard a promise for third-party apps - more of a desire.

Still, I'd also love to have third-party apps, but let's not make up promises from Tesla or Elon that haven't been made.

redacted | 24 janvier 2016

My guess is that priorities changed. At one point the big, programmable screen would have been a big differentiating factor, but then autopilot and such facilities were determined to be more of a differentiator. Even though I'd love carplay and apps, I think autopilot was a far better choice.

alemany | 24 janvier 2016

Just need Pandora, OpenTable and Tripit and I'm happy.