Tesla cars might support third-party apps and games in the future: Report

By Vignesh Giridharan | Published on 12 Jun 2019

Tesla's infotainment system could support third-party apps in the future.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says building apps is currently a challenge.

Tesla cars might support third-party apps and games in the future: Report

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Even if you have never sat inside a Tesla before, you probably have seen pictures of a typical Tesla dashboard in the past. Then you probably also remember that a large touchscreen panel in the middle of the dashboard is a common element in all Tesla models. It belongs to the car’s advanced infotainment system, which, until now, has only supported Tesla-made apps. According to a recent podcast recorded by Ride the Lightning, the infotainment system in Tesla cars could support apps made by third-party developers in the future.

In Ride the Lightning’s hour-long audio podcast, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that the EV company’s models could someday support third-party apps and games. What that means is that Tesla cars might have support for popular media and navigation apps that we already see in other car models, such as Waze and Spotify. For all we know, we might end up seeing a Tesla with full support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. But that might not happen anytime soon.

“In order for it to be worthwhile for somebody to write an app, there has to be enough install base to warrant the effort. Even if you’re going to port something, it has to be worth the effort,” said Musk, while explaining that the number of Tesla cars out there is still too low to merit an app store of its own. The company is going to continue experimenting with ported apps and games for the moment. “There’s no money in it right now,” he added.

According to Musk, the infotainment system on all current Tesla models is essentially an Intel-powered device running Linux. It shouldn’t be too hard to port apps to a system like that, he noted. While the CEO pointed out several reasons why support for third-party apps won’t come right now, he expressed an interest in a Play Store or App Store-like ecosystem for Tesla cars. If Musk’s interest sticks, we could see a Tesla app store of sorts in the future. Keep your fingers crossed.

Note: if you're listening to the audio podcast, head to the 38th-minute mark for the discussion on third-party app support

Vignesh Giridharan

Progressively identifies more with the term ‘legacy device’ as time marches on.

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