BMW was the first brand to bring wireless Apple CarPlay to the market, allowing drivers to keep their phone in their pocket and still operate it from the iDrive screen. Having used it recently in the new BMW 5 Series, it works brilliantly. Once the phone is paired with the car, it always remembers it. So ever time you get in, the iPhone automatically pairs and CarPlay can be used. It’s seamless and easy to use, making listening to your own music or receiving text messages as safe and easy as possible.
Apple CarPlay isn’t the only mobile phone system to be offered in modern cars, though. Android Auto is also available on many cars for use with Android-based devices. However, BMW won’t be integrating Android Auto into its vehicles and has no plans to ever do so.
“We offer CarPlay as an option but not Android Auto,” said BMW’s senior vice president of Digital Services and Business Models, Dieter May. “We believe the changes that are coming to the inside of the car and the user experience — like self-driving cars — you have to control the customer interface. That’s part of the brand experience and for that, I don’t want to have an Android screen and I especially want to be able to deeply integrate these systems.”
The problem with Android-based devices and integrates systems is that the Andorid experience is highly customizable. There are many ways to modify and change the interface of an Android device and that can lead to a discrepancy between the device and the car. BMW wants to be able to control the integration of the device’s interface so as to make it as simple and streamlined as possible.
May claims that the future will bring about more personalization and customization but premium brands must control the experience, so as to make it as luxurious and premium as possible. “If you have six screens in the car, you also get gesture control, voice control with a personal assistant, etc.,” he said. “You need to have control over that user experience — maybe you can get away with it if you’re a ‘mass producer,’ but not in the premium segment.”
BMW works incredibly closely with third-party developers to allow for app and software integration to be as perfect as possible. This also speeds up the process of what BMW is able to offer in its cars. The Bavarians are also open to working with multiple companies for various different aspects of in-car tech. For instance, Apple CarPlay is the only phone-based software system it will be working with but has already partnered with Amazon to use Alexa and could look to Google for a search function.
May is also thinking about a completely different business model, which would work almost like the DLC (Downloadable Content) model int he video game industry. So, for instance, you buy a car from the dealer and then if there’s a new software update to the engine that can add 50 horsepower, you can just buy that for your car. It could even work on a subscription basis as well. We’re hoping it doesn’t come to that, as that sort of business model only infuriates the customer base.[Source: Tech Crunch]