Smartphone integration is a big deal for most of us when it comes to cars. I’d even go as far as saying that they almost make navigation systems obsolete as they usually have better map accuracy – thanks to OTA updates – and better traffic prediction systems. That’s why systems like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now becoming a must for every car maker out there. BMW is currently offering CarPlay for new customers as an option but in the near future that will change, switching to a subscription service.
According to The Verge, this is viewed as a better deal for the customer from BMW’s point of view. According to Don Smith, technology product manager for BMW North America, it will save you a couple of bucks too, depending on how long you plan on using either a BMW or an Apple device. “This allows the customer to switch devices,” he said. “A lot of people buy [CarPlay] and think it’s okay, but sometimes they stop using it or switch to Android.”
Furthermore, since at the moment CarPlay costs $300 and since the system will be free for the first year, the $80/year fee will save you some money if you own the car for about four years. Of course, during that time you may switch to Android, as Smith said, and that would save you even more money. The problem, however, is that BMW doesn’t offer Android Auto for any of its models at the moment.
Nevertheless, BMW announced the integration of Alexa into its cars, including the MINI brand, a while back. This year, the company is also going to offer support for Google’s Assistant, for those using Android phones. Things are moving in the right direction but as an user of both an iOS phone and an Android one, I definitely hope Android Auto comes to iDrive sooner rather than later.