BMW upgrades smartphone connectivity

There’s good news from BMW about the way your smartphone integrates with your car…

From the middle of this year BMW will finally offer Android Auto to allow Android smartphone users to connect their mobiles to BMW vehicles. The ‘plug-and- play’ connectivity for Android Auto will work wirelessly, it therefore makes it easy for users to access music, media and messaging apps, linking an Android smartphone to a BMW in a seamless and user-friendly fashion. Android Auto will integrate into BMW’s digital cockpit, meaning that customers will be able to view important information on the central Control Display, and in adapted form in the instrument cluster’s Info Display, as well as in the Head-Up Display – which appears directly in the driver’s line of sight. Through the Google Assistant on Android Auto, users can get directions, keep in touch and stay productive.

Importantly it will not just be drivers of brand new BMWs that will be able to benefit, all vehicles with BMW Operating System 7.0 (OS7) – BMW’s software system launched in 2018 – will gain access to Android Auto in 20 countries from July 2020.

Apple smartphone users also have reason to celebrate as it has been widely reported that BMW is dropping its controversial charge for Apple CarPlay. Up until now BMW customers received a free one-year subscription to Apple CarPlay, thereafter access to the service was charged in annual (£85.00), three-year (£255.00) or lifetime (£295.00) CarPlay packages. Similar to Android Auto, Apple CarPlay allows Apple iPhone users to synchronise their smartphones with a BMW. BMW Car understands that drivers of vehicles with the aforementioned latest infotainment software – OS7 – will now gain a free unlimited subscription. We also understand that owners of BMWs fitted with OS7 who have already purchased a one- or three-year CarPlay subscription will be upgraded to a free unlimited subscription.

However, some BMWs such as the i3, i8, together with the outgoing 2 and 4 Series, run OS6 – BMW’s previous operating system. Owners of these models will still be required to pay £235.00 for CarPlay. It’s worth noting that according to Apple there is no charge to car manufacturers to use CarPlay, any costs involved are at the manufacturer’s end during research and development for integration with the car’s infotainment systems. While other manufacturers do not overtly pass these costs onto the customer, BMW has been. This, therefore, will likely be very welcome news.

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