BMW must be angling to be on Santa’s good list. A week after announcing it would no longer charge extra for Apple CarPlay, BMW announced Wednesday that it would finally introduce Android Auto compatibility in its vehicles by July, 2020.
BMW’s belated move represented one of the last major automakers to offer Android Auto compatibility. Lexus began offering Android Auto in select models earlier this year.
While BMW may be late to market, it leads the industry in offering wireless smartphone connectivity, so the phones don’t need to be physically tethered and drivers don’t have to be reminded to bring along a cord.
Like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto is integrated into BMW’s iDrive 7.0 operating system, which debuted in fall 2018. That system, broadly encompassed in Live Cockpit Professional, includes a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.3-inch center touchscreen. The flat display with customizable screens and a three-pane option is much easier to use than the old tile system that made you scroll right and left so often that your eyes would be on the screen more than the road.
Android Auto-compatible smartphones include the Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, and Nexus 5X or 6P, among numerous others old and new. BMW did not indicate if there would be an $80 annual charge after the first year of service, like the company did with Apple CarPlay up until a week ago.
We expect BMW learned its lesson with that one and Android Auto will be included as standard equipment.