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BMW Says Hello To Android Auto

A few short decades ago, manufacturing cars was a relatively simple business. All you did was build cars to the best of your ability, and people either bought them or they didn’t. If you made good cars, you would go on to run a successful manufacturer, and if you made bad cars, you would quickly be out of business. It was a slightly cutthroat world, but the system worked.

Nowadays, the number of things you have to take into account when designing and developing a new car is much larger and endlessly more controversial. Simply providing drivers with the best driving experience possible is no longer enough – you also have to choose a side in the bitter and endless . The fact that cars and mobile phones have very little in common is irrelevant – modern buyers expect their phones to integrate seamlessly with the entertainment and safety features within their vehicles, and that means manufacturers have to pair up with either Apple or Android.

The making of such a decision poses a quandary for a manufacturer. Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay have been developed at great expense by their creators and will continue to compete for years to come. Nobody has any idea which company’s software will be the next to offer a great feature, or which will ultimately become the industry standard. Having to bet on a winner now is a process that isn’t a million miles away from making bets on an online slots website. You know you’re gambling, and you know you don’t have much control over the final outcome. Online slots are games of chance, and choosing to back one company over the other is little different. Metaphorically speaking, BMW has turned up at a with its money in its hand, and it’s finally decided which way it’s going to bet.

As of July 2020, Android Auto will be available as the default choice inside all vehicles capable of running iDrive 7.0 or above. BMW has decided not only to adopt Android Auto, but take a step beyond the majority of their competitors – they will no only feature it in their cars, but they’ll . Drivers who own smartphones made by Samsung, Google Pixel, or Nexus won’t even have to plug their phones into their cars to make use of the new software potential. Huawei users may also get to enjoy the same privilege although given the trade status of that particular brand, it may be some time before BMW is able to provide clarity on the issue.

Although BMW is among the last of the major manufacturers to adopt Android Auto (with even Toyota now in on the action) the move is still being greeted with surprise in some quarters on the grounds that BMW had previously shown absolute loyalty to Apple CarPlay – although even that wasn’t without its controversies. The company was forced into an embarrassing public climbdown a little over a month ago after it emerged that they were the only significant manufacturer actually charging customers a fee to make use of the service, with the average cost coming in at around $80 per year. BMW has since rescinded those charges, and have shown no indication that they intend to charge people for using Android Auto.

As well as being capable of running iDrive 7.0, cars will need to have BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional hardware installed in order to make use of the service. In practice, this just means that the vehicles need to have the biggest touchscreen surfaces the company currently offers. To narrow things down further to a shortlist of cars, Android Auto will definitely be available within all 8 Series, 7 Series, 5 Series, and 3 Series sedans manufactured either this year or last year. It will also definitely be available in X7, X5, and X3 SUVs made during the same timeframe.

Although the differences between the two types of operating software may be mostly cosmetic right now, it’s likely that they’ll develop to the point where there will be a significant material difference between the two in the future. Both companies have their own divisions focused on developing GPS and satellite navigation technology, and it’s also generally understood that both have been involved in research and development on the topic of self-driving cars. We’ve long been at the point where self-driving cars feel overdue, and the technology that should unleash them has already existed for some time. When the moment they’re finally approved for general use finally arrives, what will be driving the cars? Will it be Apple’s version of in-car technology that gets over the hill first, or will it be Android’s?

The battle between the two companies is nothing new. Twenty years ago, every phone manufacturer packaged its phones with OS software it developed itself. Apple dominated the market with iOS, and Google and Android quickly swallowed up the OS of every other provider to narrow things down to a straight choice between the two. Apple and Google (who are the real power behind Android) are currently head to head in almost every area of technology, from video gaming and movies to home assistants and robotics. It now seems that the battle is being raged on a new front – the technology that we trust to assist and guide us when we drive our cars. Although it’s yet to be explicitly confirmed, it now appears that BMW has chosen to exclude Apple from that conversation in the future. Apple CarPlay isn’t just being joined by Android Auto inside new BMWs – it’s being replaced by it. BMW has apparently assessed what both companies have to offer, and decided that Android has the better package.

If you’re planning to buy a new BMW next year, remember that you’re not just selecting a new car for yourself, your business, or you’re family. You’re choosing a side in a technological battle that has raged for almost the entirety of the last decade and looks likely to become even more fierce in the decade to come.


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