Audi Brings its Own App Store Into Selected Models

Audi is spearheading onboard connectivity this summer by bringing a store for apps to selected models with the third-generation modular infotainment toolkit (MIB 3).

With the embedding of the store, jointly developed with Volkswagen subsidiary CARIAD, customers can access third-party apps through the Multimedia Interface (MMI) using a data link in the vehicle.

The apps selected by the can be installed in the MMI system without the need for a detour via a smartphone. To achieve this expansion of MIB 3 Audi has added an extra hardware module the size of a USB flash drive, which is loaded with an open-source operating platform so allowing access to the third-party apps inside the vehicle.

The store for apps will be available from June in selected models that are equipped with the latest MIB 3 software cluster, specifically the Audi A3, A4/A5, Q5, A6/A7, A8, Q8 e-tron, and Audi e-tron GT. These models will be fitted with the store from the factory throughout the European market as well as Canada and the United States. The functionality will be expanded to additional models in 2023. The third-party apps are not available on vehicles with an earlier date of production.

At launch, apps from music, video, gaming, navigation, parking and charging, productivity, weather and news will be available to download. The music section, for example, includes apps such as Amazon Music and Spotify. Audi says the store will constantly grow with new apps being added all the time. Customers can access it via a separate MMI tile. Afterwards, the additional apps are implemented in the MMI and can be used even while driving. The app portfolio is modified to suit to the various markets.

A data link is required to use the third-party apps, which is established via the “embedded SIM”, a sim card permanently installed in the vehicle. For Audi owners in Europe, the costs that accrue from using the cellular network are billed via data volume with Cubic Telecom. The first 25 gigabytes are free of charge.

Oliver Hoffmann, CTO of Audi, said: “Audi is the first brand within the Volkswagen Group to introduce the new store for third party applications. Developed by CARIAD, this scalable solution is a proof point for our strategy to offer a highly attractive ecosystem for our customers. With this solution, Audi drivers will not only enjoy regular software updates but also an even more personalized infotainment system.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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