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Tesla could soon support third-party apps – here’s how

Tesla could soon support third-party apps – here’s how

Despite boasting whopping touchscreen infotainment systems and a slick user interface, Tesla owners still lack the basic Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality that even aftermarket head-unit customers enjoy.

In fact, Tesla prefers to keep its customers within in its own ecosystem, with apps like Spotify and Apple Music embedded in the media player found on Tesla touchscreens. Up until now, owners wanting to integrate third-party apps have had use non-sanctioned options that run an unofficial API, and therefore often get broken when Tesla updates its software.

According to Electrek, Tesla has officially released its API documentation to support third-party apps. This is likely a response to Tesla creating bespoke software for Hertz rentals earlier this year, which made it easier for renters to upload their profile information to a new car and use features, like using a smartphone as a digital key.

The move to support more third party apps is likely going to be aimed at other rental companies for now, allowing them to develop similar software, but could also be opened up to other established third-party app developers in the near future.

Opening up the API is similar to Apple’s move in making its Automaker toolkit available to all of the major OEMs. From here, they could develop Apple CarPlay further to work in conjunction with the vehicle’s onboard telematics systems and improve the overall user experience.

As we reported recently, very few OEMs have opted do this, despite the tools being available for years, with only Porsche recently experimenting with the iOS app and opening it up so owners could control more of the vehicle’s functionality without leaving the app.

In a similar move to the vast majority of OEMs, Tesla wants to keep its users within its own infotainment ecosystem and has been resistant to releasing API documentation to third-party developers until now.

What does this mean?

Tesla Infotainment

(Image credit: Tesla)

It is unlikely that we will see an official Tesla app store popping up any time soon, but this update does mean that some of those existing third-party apps, such as fleet management software and smartwatch integration, will now be made official and will enable development alongside Tesla’s software updates.

That said, Tesla has limited the amount of information that can be accessed by the API currently, meaning it limits the kind of applications software developers can create. 

Although it could be a step in the right direction for those wanting to integrate more smartphone functionality into their Teslas in the near future.

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