BMW swallows jagged little Android Auto pill16 December 2019
BMW is finally going to start integrating Android Auto into its cars starting in July 2020, the automaker announced Wednesday.
What’s more, it will be wireless Android Auto, making BMW one of the few automakers to offer Google’s smartphone-powered in-car infotainment option without requiring owners to plug in.
Only two years ago at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, BMW’s senior VP of Digital Services and Business Models, Mr Dieter May, said ‘Nein’ to Android Auto. At that time BMW offered Apple CarPlay as an option, but not Android Auto. He cited one major reason for that decision as being the development of its own A2A (Apps for Auto) cloud-based platform which was to be part of the company’s ConnectedDrive platform.
It appears the BMW’s customers have won out after directing much pressure for the introduction of Android Auto, as the A2A was taking too long).
BMW now says Android Auto will appear on all BMW vehicles equipped the 7.0 version of the company’s in-car software (iDrive) and the company’s ‘Live Cockpit Professional’ hardware (a fancy name for ‘the biggest touchscreens’), which are available on all 2019 and 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 forthcoming 2020 X6 SUV.
It’s not all good news though as, because it’s the wireless version of Android Auto, owners will have to use Pixel, Nexus, or Samsung smartphones.
BMW is one of the last major carmakers holding out on Android Auto, especially after Toyota announced earlier this year that it was finally adding the functionality (along with Apple CarPlay) in some of its own 2020 models. BMW has offered Apple’s CarPlay for a few years now, but the Bavarian automaker cheekily charged owners an extra fee to use it — until last week when it finally reversed that decision.
As for why it took so long to embrace Android Auto, a BMW spokesperson says a ‘majority of our customers were using iOS mobile devices over the last few years, so Apple CarPlay was our main focus. However, BMW customers made it clear that they would like to have Android Auto integration available, which lead us to today’s announcement.”