Tesla is creating an App Store, but it's not what you think

By Nuno Cristovao

According to Sawyer Merritt and Teslascope Tesla is in active development of an app store for its vehicles. The app store is rumored to be released before the first Cybertrucks are delivered.

Concept designer DeleetDesigns has even designed what a Tesla app store could look like.

What a Tesla app store can look like
What a Tesla app store can look like
DeleetDesigns

Having a Tesla app store is certainly an interesting concept, and I certainly believe Tesla is working on one, but it may not be what you think it is.

The concept by DeleetDesigns is well-executed and it brings some interesting ideas to the table like letting you charge items to your Tesla account.

However, it leads us to believe that a Tesla app store will be similar to Apple's or Google's versions.

I'm not sure apps like Burger King, Slack, Twitter, and others are great candidates for the Tesla app store.

There are only about 2 million Teslas. While it's certainly impressive what Tesla has been able to accomplish, that's only about 0.0016% of all the active iPhones in the world. What this means is that developers wouldn't put as much money and time into their Tesla app versions. And after they're developed, they'll quickly fall behind their smartphone counterparts.

Tesla could avoid this issue by letting users run Android apps, similar to how you could run Andorid apps on some Chromebooks, but most of these apps don't scale well to larger screens, especially a 15 or 17-inch screen.

It'll always be easier to scroll through something like Twitter on your phone than it is on a screen that's an arm's length away from you. It's also more convenient to type on a phone than it is to peck at an on-screen keyboard.

What We Think the Tesla App Store Will Be

We know that Tesla is working on an app store, and here's what we think it'll be like.

Instead of being an app store similar to Apple's that allows developers to make any kind of app, we think Tesla will be limiting the apps to the ones that are well suited for use in a car.

It's expensive to create the framework required to create an app store, especially one that allows apps to be as versatile as phone apps are today. Why should Tesla go through all that work for developers to create apps that few people will use?

How often do find yourself wanting to use your TV instead of your smartphone? Even for some video apps like TikTok, it doesn't make a lot of sense. It's just easier to swipe on your phone.

Many set-top boxes can run all sorts of apps, but most people don't want to shop on Amazon or browser Facebook on their TV.

Instead, they want to use their TV for apps that can provide an experience their phone isn't able to. Apps that allow them to stream video on a larger screen, like Netflix, or exercise with apps like Peloton or Apple Fitness+, or maybe even share a slideshow for the family. What we're not doing is responding to emails or Slack messages on the TV, or even looking at stock quotes. That kind of stuff is much more suited for a phone.

Although Tesla has one of the best infotainment systems of any vehicle, it can't compete with a device that you upgrade every few years. A device that has a faster connection, higher resolution screen, more storage, easier payment authentication, and a faster processor.

A Tesla app will be successful when can leverage the benefits a Tesla can provide over your phone; a bigger screen and integration with your Tesla.

Tesla won't bother creating APIs for developers to build apps that aren't well suited for a Tesla.

Instead, Tesla will focus their efforts on building developer tools that will allow anyone to create apps that will excel in a Tesla. These apps will be for things such as SiriusXM and Apple Music. It could be video streaming apps like YouTube TV and Amazon Prime Video.

These apps will integrate seamlessly into your Tesla UI, just like DeleetDesigns illustrates in his concept.

The Tesla app store would let developers port additional games to Teslas as well, giving owners even more gaming options.

Creating an app store will be a huge win for Tesla. There are a lot of entertainment options out there and Tesla can't keep up with all the latest streaming services.

By creating an app store and APIs for developers, Tesla can offload the development of these apps to other companies. It'll allow companies like Apple to create Apple Music for your Tesla, it'll allow SiriusXM can create a streaming SiriusXM app. This will free up Tesla's engineers' time and give owners the apps they're looking for.

Most Teslas have relatively small hard drives, so they're not capable of storing apps endless amounts of video streaming apps and games. By creating an app store, users could install only the apps and games that are relevant to them. This will help free up space taken up games or apps the owner may not use today.

To run apps similar to our smartphones and tablets, Teslas would require a more capable processor than the one used in most Teslas. It'd likely only be available for Teslas with MCU 3, which would exclude almost all Teslas manufactured so far.

However, if the app store was limited to games, video, and audio streaming apps, then it could be available for MCU 2 vehicles as well.

All of the video streaming apps in Teslas today are just full-screen versions of the app's website. Having developers create native experiences for Netflix, YouTube and others would make these apps much more responsive than they are today.

We know that Tesla is creating an app store that will likely be released in the coming year. The app store will benefit Tesla and Tesla owners alike, but we may have to alter our expectations of what a Tesla app store will be.

How Tesla's FSD Beta Has Expanded Over Time

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla reveals how many miles have been driven on FSD Beta as of January 2023
Tesla reveals how many miles have been driven on FSD Beta as of January 2023
Tesla

Tesla's Full Self Driving (FSD) technology took a giant leap forward in distributing FSD Beta to 400,000 customers in North America. It is a significant milestone for the development of autonomous driving and highlights Tesla's commitment to bringing this cutting-edge technology to the masses. A new version, v11.3 could roll out any day.

Number of Testers Over Time

Tesla made FSD Beta public a little more than two years ago, around October 2020. It was initially only made available to less than a handful of testers, but that pool grew to about 1,000 users later that year.

Since then Tesla has gradually increased the number of testers. The ramp from the initial 1,000 testers took some time, but by October 2021 Tesla had opened it up further through its Safety Score program. By January 2022, it was available to about 60,000 owners.

In March of 2022, Tesla expanded FSD Beta to Canada, gradually adding additional testers, and eventually increasing the number of testers across the U.S. and Canada to 160,000 in September.

Tesla announced this December that the number of testers had grown to 285,000 and recently said this January that it's now accessible to 400,000 Tesla owners.

FSD Beta Expansion and Milestones

Date Milestone
October, 2020 Opened to select testers
Late 2020 ~ 1,000 added
October 2021 Start of expansion through Safety Score
January 2022 Available to 60,000 testers
March 2022 Expansion to Canada
July 2022 Available to 160,000 testers
December 2022 Available to 285,000 testers
January 2023 Access given to 400,000 owners

Faster Feedback

The deployment of FSD Beta to such a large number of customers will provide an unprecedented level of testing and feedback, allowing Tesla to refine the technology and bring it to an even higher level of reliability and safety. Furthermore, with over 90 million miles driven on FSD outside of highways, the published data shows a clear improvement in safety statistics, demonstrating the potential for autonomous driving to revolutionize the way we travel.

This increased testing level will help improve the technology even further, as the system can learn from a broader range of driving scenarios and road conditions.

FSD Will Make the Roads Safer

The safety benefits of Full Self Driving technology will be a major selling point for Tesla and one of the primary reasons for its rapid growth. Using cameras and other advanced technologies, FSD can monitor the road and make real-time adjustments to ensure the vehicle operates safely and efficiently. As a result, this technology reduces the likelihood of accidents and provides passengers with a safer, more comfortable driving experience.

Overall, making FSD Beta available to 400,000 customers represents a major step forward for Tesla and the entire autonomous driving industry. It's now available to all customers who have purchased or subscribed to FSD in the U.S. and Canada. The next big expansion is expected to be in Europe sometime this year.

With its focus on safety and reliability, Tesla is leading the way toward a future where driving is fully autonomous, and accidents are a thing of the past. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more impressive advances in the coming years, bringing us closer to a world where autonomous vehicles are a common sight on our roads.

Tesla Accessory, Ctrl-Bar Adds Physical Buttons to the Model Y and Model 3

By Kevin Armstrong
The Ctrl-Bar adds physical buttons to the Model 3/Y
The Ctrl-Bar adds physical buttons to the Model 3/Y
Ctrl-Bar

Tesla's minimalistic interior design is both loved and hated. Much loathing is due to the lack of physical buttons drivers are so used to having at their fingertips to control heat, music and everything else in the cabin. The sleek look is attractive, but for some it can fall short in easy accessibility while driving.

That's where a new product comes into play: Ctrl-Bar. Created by Øyvind Husby of Oslo, Norway, Ctrl-Bar has nearly 300 backers on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo and has beat its target funding goal by more than 280 percent. The objective is to provide a tactile, programmable solution to Tesla's minimalistic interior design.

How It Works

Ctrl-Bar is a device that attaches securely to the bottom of the Model 3 and Model Y screen and offers a quick-access, tactile response that physical buttons can only achieve. The premium black glass finish blends seamlessly with the screen bezel, providing a smooth look. It connects to a smartphone using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and gets power from a hidden USB cable connected to the rear center console USB port. The app runs in the background, capturing only the data needed to run the services and prioritizing privacy. In addition, the Ctrl-Bar screen shows real-time changes, so there is no latency when changing temperatures or other functions. After less than a second, the device will send the command to your vehicle.

Ctrl-Bar Video

The Scrolls, Buttons and Extras

The Ctrl-Bar has two scroll wheels with tactile indents to control the cabin temperature, one for the driver and the passenger. In addition, four push buttons are in the middle of the wheels to provide easy access to programmable shortcuts, such as seat heaters, defrost mode, dog mode, and more. All changes made on the Ctrl-Bar are reflected on the center screen, offering a unified experience.

In addition to controlling essential functions, Ctrl-Bar also provides ambient LED lighting. The device has a series of powerful LEDs that illuminate the center console and front footwells. Users can scroll through assorted color and brightness options to find the perfect lighting for their drive. For an additional subscription, Ctrl-Bar offers speed trap warnings. The device checks for nearby fixed speed traps and visually alerts the driver when they are approaching. If the driver exceeds the speed limit, Ctrl-Bar will give an audible warning reminding them to slow down.

The Ctrl-Bar adds physical buttons to the Model 3/Y
The Ctrl-Bar adds physical buttons to the Model 3/Y
Ctrl-Bar

Creative Company with a Track Record

Greenmission, the company behind Ctrl-Bar, has successfully launched a premium wireless charger for the Tesla Model S/X. With trusted manufacturers and software developers on board, the main obstacles to getting Ctrl-Bar into the hands of Tesla owners are developing the phone app, establishing a reliable connection, avoiding supplier issues and delays, and managing costs. Despite these challenges, Greenmission is confident they can bring Ctrl-Bar to market and provide a much-needed solution to the lack of physical buttons in Tesla vehicles.

Ctrl-Bar is an interesting device that adds some physical buttons for owners who want or need them. It matches well with the interior of the vehicle and still provides a sleek look. However, it will require your phone to have a cellular connection to successfully send commands to the vehicle, since it relies on Tesla's APIs.

Tesla drivers are always looking for ways to improve their experience, and new features will be made available through Over-The-Air updates. Furthermore, users' feedback and suggestions will be considered and worked on in future updates.

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Although we share official Tesla release notes, we are not affiliated with Tesla Motors. We are Tesla fans and supporters.

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View the release notes for the upcoming version 2023.2.10.

Confirmed by Elon

Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.

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