It may have taken a while, but BMW has finally figured out that not all of its customers are using iPhones to interact with its cars, making it the last automaker from Germany’s Big Three to offer both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in its infotainment system.
BMW’s iDrive was one of the first in-car communication and entertainment systems back when it launched in 2001, and refinements over all these years have made it a slicker and intuitive experience than most of its rivals.
That said, the company did make the odd decision of charging customers $80/year for access to Apple’s CarPlay on its 2019 models, which it recently reversed amidst public criticism. Now, the company has also lent an ear to consumers who had been complaining about the lack of Android Auto.
“The BMW Group is extending the reach of seamless connectivity in its vehicles with the introduction of Android Auto™ starting in mid-2020.” noted the company’s press release. However, it seems that a limited number of Android smartphone owners will be able to benefit initially since BMW is going for wireless Android Auto integration.
It’s still better than nothing, though, and more importantly, BMW’s implementation of Android Auto will integrate it directly into the car’s “fully digital cockpit, meaning that customers can view all important information not just on the central Control Display, but also in intelligently adapted form in the instrument cluster’s Info Display as well as in the Head-Up Display, where it appears directly in the driver’s driving direction.”
“Many of our customers have pointed out the importance to them of having Android Auto inside a BMW for using a number of familiar Android smartphone features safely without being distracted from the road, in addition to BMW’s own functions and services,” said Peter Henrich, BMW’s SVP of Product Management.
Android Auto will be demonstrated at BMW’s booth during CES 2020 in Las Vegas and will be arriving in July 2020 for all models equipped with its latest iDrive 7 infotainment system.