I’ve been saying it for a while now, but we finally have some signals that Tesla’s future is going to be in their app platform, not just the cars. Today we’re going to look at how one company developed an app on the Tesla platform using the built-in Tesla browser.
In technology, a platform refers to a service you can use to build other apps on top of. Think of the iPhone. Your phone comes with all of the necessary software you need for it to operate. And it would be strange if it didn’t.
Apple was smart though and realized that they couldn’t possibly think of every possible way you could use your iPhone. So they developed the operating system for the iPhone, known as iOS, in a way that others could use it to build apps.
At the time people couldn’t grasp what other kinds of apps you could want on your phone? It already could make calls, send a text message, and browse the internet. What more could you possibly want?
As of March 2017, developers selling their apps on the app store have earned over 70B since launch in 2008 with nearly 3M apps available to customers.
So needless to say, the pivot from a singular product like a cell phone to a platform changed how we think about devices such as smartphones and has led to a significant revenue for both Apple and the developers using their platform. This begs the question then, how is Tesla a platform? What apps could we possibly need or want in our cars?
As Ben from TezLab explains, Tesla designed their API (the interface for the built-in operating system) in a way that encourages app development. This is especially obvious in the settings page of the OS as well as the various endpoints or services the Tesla API offers.
Their app combines your phone with the Tesla API to determine when you start driving, then gives you statistics about the efficiency and phantom drain. They were also able to use the built-in Tesla browser to provide Waze integration and weather information.
TezLab plans to continue evolving their app to help you get the most out of your driving experience.
The idea of a Tesla App Store is especially important as the cars become self-driving and we have more time to focus on other things during our commute. If you’re a Tesla owner and want to see what we’re talking about you can get TezLab from the Apple app store or Google Play store. If you are a TezLab user already, let me know what you think in the comments down below.