BMW will offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in its vehicles in 2020 and both will be wireless.
BMW is emerging as the leader in smart device integration in vehicles. Presently the only mainstream automaker to offer wireless Apple CarPlay in its vehicles, BMW is now taking the additional step of offering wireless Android Auto in its 2020 model year lineup. BMW is the only brand that has ever provided BestRide with a test vehicle that offered wireless Apple CarPlay. We have tested five BMWs with the technology now by our count, and it works seamlessly and is more fully integrated than the wired connection many automakers employ.
Although we have often noted the lack of any Android Auto compatibility in BMW vehicles, BMW worked with Google to make the leap directly to wireless, and starting in the coming months that work will pay off. “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,” says Peter Henrich, Senior Vice President Product Management BMW. “We will offer this service to our customers starting in July 2020.”
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Google’s comment on this integration focused on safety. Patrick Brady, Vice President of Engineering, Google said, “We are excited to work with BMW to bring wireless Android Auto to their customers worldwide next year. The seamless connection from Android smartphones to BMW vehicles allows customers to hit the road faster while maintaining access to all of their favorite apps and services in a safer experience.” What Mr. Brady is referring to is distraction and ease of use. Infotainment systems have been evolving rapidly and the technology advances can sometimes be overwhelming. However, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto don’t add to the distraction, they reduce it. This was proven true in an independent study conducted by AAA. The study’s findings included the following:
1) Both CarPlay and Android Auto systems were less demanding than built-in (native) infotainment systems for the tasks employed.
2) CarPlay and Android Auto systems generated an overall moderate level of demand, whereas the built-in (native) systems led to overall very high levels of demand.
Making the systems start wirelessly rather than requiring that the driver take the time to connect the device to the car via a USB cable will means more BMW drivers will employ this safer system. But safety is not why most users opt to connect their devices to their vehicles via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The real reason is the user experience. These smart device integration apps enable users to have the same navigation, music, and information apps they know and love from their smart device brand seamlessly integrated into the vehicle’s screens and audio system.
BMW says that the existing operating system it already uses in its vehicles works with the new wireless integration, so owners won’t have to wait long for the services to be available. BMW says its 2020 model line will have the technology. Of course, some older phones won’t be able to keep up. The chart above was provided by BMW to help owners know which phones will work wirelessly. The best news? Older phones that run Android Auto will still work with a USB cable.