Ever since BMW began offering Apple CarPlay, customers with Android phones have been asking why they’ve been neglected. For reasons only understood by BMW, Android Auto — Android’s screen-mirroring alternative to CarPlay — hasn’t been offered in any Bavarian products.
But in December 2019, BMW announced that Android Auto will finally come to BMW cars in July 2020. The roll-out is scheduled to go market-by-market and Australia is one of them.
At a recent press event, CarsGuide has learned that the Android smartphone mirroring function will be available in the second half of this year.
“Any [BMW] already on the road with our latest 7.0 iDrive operating system will be able to receive upgrades, including Android Auto, over the air,” he said.
“We want t o make sure the infotainment system in the car can be updated without having to take your car to a dealership.
“It’s downloadable over the air, via the SIM card in the vehicle, or you can download it to your phone at your home or office via Wi-Fi, and transfer it to your car the next time you drive it.”
But the upgrade won’t be automatic for all compatible BMWs. BMW Australia product planning executive, Prabs Datar, said it will be rolled out by BMW at a global and local level after comprehensive testing.
“It’s not instantaneous for everyone. It’s actually VIN by VIN that we initially select the vehicles to send it to,” he said.
The Android Auto, the infotainment system and other features could be upgraded over-the-air. Some of those updates could take more than 20 minutes and BMW says that the car won’t be driveable and must be stationary.