KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 — BMW users with Android smartphones rejoice! After an excruciatingly long wait, the German carmaker will soon be integrating wireless Android Auto to all its vehicles equipped with iDrive Operating System 7.0 (iDrive OS 7.0). This will make BMW one of the few automakers in the world to offer the feature without requiring owners to connect their smartphone via cable.
But why did it take BMW so long to include Android Auto in its cars? A BMW spokesperson told The Verge that the reason was that the vast majority of its customers were using iOS devices, thus leading them to focus on Apple CarPlay.
The Bavarian automaker has integrated wireless Apple CarPlay in its cars for years now, but it controversially charged owners a yearly fee of RM513 to use it. It has stopped the practice since December 2019,
What made BMW change their mind? After receiving feedback from many of its customers the company relented and proceeded to work on adding Android Auto to its cars.
So which BMW models are eligible for the update? According to BMW, all 2019 / 2020 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, and 8 Series sedans, as well as the newest X3, X5, and X7 SUVs. It will also be available on the 2020 X6 SUV.
There is however one big catch. Not all Android smartphones can use the wireless version of Android Auto. You will need a Pixel, Nexus or Samsung smartphone running on Android 8.0 or higher to enjoy the feature.
BMW released a video demonstrating how Android Auto works in a G30 530e xDrive. In the video, we are told that you need only pair your smartphone with your car once and it will automatically sync every time you enter the car.
All your favourite Android apps are now accessible from the infotainment screen which you can interact with by touching the screen or using the iDrive controller. Alternatively, you can also opt for a hands-free experience by speaking to Google Assistant to navigate to your place of work or ask it to play some music.
BMW’s Live Cockpit integrates seamlessly with information from your smartphone. For example, when navigating with Google maps, the route information is shown on the centre screen, digital instrument cluster as well as on the heads-up display, so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.
Another cool touch BMW has added is the splitting of the widescreen display. You have the primary app or the app drawer being placed to the left while the right side is occupied by the clock or a small media window when you have music or a podcast playing.
Now if you own a BMW with iDrive OS 7.0 you have the option of choosing between wireless Android Auto or wireless Apple CarPlay. You know so you have the choice of rocking either one of your flagship smartphones the next time you go out to town.
To get the wireless Android Auto in your Beemer, you will need to perform an over-the-air software update. BMW has not confirmed when the update will come to Malaysia, but it should be coming soon.
Interested in checking out wireless Android Auto in action in a BMW? Click on the video below. — SoyaCincau