The hypothesis of an App Store on board Tesla vehicles

Is there any question of the arrival of an App Store in the Tesla? Although the hypothesis is attractive, recent findings do not necessarily constitute a statement in this direction.

If the rumor is true, electric car giant Tesla is about to take a big step with a major new feature for its vehicles. Indeed, Tesla may well be laying the groundwork for third-party app support on its proprietary operating system, Tesla OS.

Envisioned as the nerve center of Tesla vehicles, this purpose-built OS offers a full suite of features tailored to the exact needs of its cars. In addition to navigation tools, Tesla OS offers entertainment apps like Netflix, YouTube, and Disney+, and even offers a selection of games, all accessible via the giant central touchscreens that are now a Tesla hallmark. .

However, unlike Android Automotive OS, used by Renault and Volvo among others, Tesla OS does not currently allow its users to install third-party apps.

The rumor of a Tesla App Store is old

The rumor of a possible Tesla App Store been around since the Model S launched in 2012. Elon Musk himself has floated the idea from time to time, and the company has even launched an unofficial API that offers minimal support for a few third-party apps. However, this API is mainly used for browser-based applications, it does not constitute a complete software development kit (SDK), fundamental element for the creation of a true ecosystem of applications.

However, a recent change spotted by Not A Tesla App in Tesla’s user account settings could indicate that the company is headed down this path. A new section for ” manage third-party apps was added, although this does not officially confirm the arrival of an application store, it is still an encouraging sign.

If this development is confirmed, it could mean that Tesla is about to roll out a more official way for third-party apps to access Tesla owner data, laying the foundation stone for a broader app ecosystem.

The prospect is particularly interesting when considering the fleet of Tesla vehicles on the road. With millions of vehicles already on the road and the ability to produce about two million more each year, Tesla has the potential to create a significant developer community. They could imagine and design a myriad of third-party apps that would enrich the user experience for Tesla owners.

Why we find it hard to believe

The recent addition of a section to manage third-party apps suggests a potential “Tesla App Store”, as Electrek points out. However, it would be premature to interpret this change as a direct sign of the imminent introduction of such a platform.

For our part, we interpret this change rather as a step towards managing API access keys for third-party applications. Indeed, the ability for developers to obtain official API access keys for Tesla vehicle data would be a significant step forward. These access keys would allow developers to create more integrated and powerful applications, paving the way for better interactivity between third-party applications and Tesla vehicles.

One can cite, for example, access to data by ABRP (A Better Route Planner) which is a route planner. The app (recently acquired by Rivian) currently has access to data, but in a roundabout way, with an inconvenient login system.

The duality of car software architecture

It is important here to emphasize the duality that exists in the software architecture of Tesla vehicles. Indeed, the system is compartmentalized into two distinct sections: in-car entertainment, or infotainment (infotainment), and driving functions. These two universes often rotate independently of each other, with the aim of guaranteeing the safety of the vehicle and its passengers.

Appearance infotainment software is the one that comes closest to the user experience on a smartphone, with a rich and interactive interface that allows passengers to browse the internet, watch movies or listen to music. It is also in this part of the system that we would find third-party applications if the idea of ​​a Tesla App Store was coming to fruition.

On the other hand, we have the driving functions, which encompass everything related to the direct control of the vehicle, such as the braking system, acceleration, steering, but also more advanced features such as Tesla’s Autopilot . These systems are tightly controlled and highly secure to avoid any risk of failure or interference that could compromise vehicle safety.

That said, the possibility of a “Tesla App Store” cannot be ruled out in the long term. Indeed, such an app store would benefit both Tesla and the users of its vehicles. It would offer a centralized platform where Tesla owners could find, review and install third-party apps securely and conveniently. Moreover, such an ecosystem could attract a wider variety of developers to the Tesla platform, encouraging the creation of ever more useful applications for Tesla vehicle owners.

It is important to clarify that these observations are based on rumors and changes observed in the user interface of Tesla. In the absence of an official announcement from Tesla, these speculations remain just that: speculations. For now, we have to wait and see how Tesla chooses to address the issue of third-party apps in the months and years to come.

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