None of the staff at Ausdroid are really in danger of getting a BMW if we’re honest, but if we were most of us would have boycotted their cars as they had been refusing to implement Android Auto into their range. That all could end soon with rumours pointing towards the German carmaker finally integrating Google’s in-car offering into their infotainment system.
Unfortunately, BMW is also the only carmaker to charge a subscription fee to access smart device integration. In Australia, BMW charges $479 over three years to connect your phone to your car — for Apple CarPlay. If we needed an excuse to not buy an overpriced hunk of steel this certainly would tip us over the edge.
BMW claims the fee is because it costs more to integrate the connected technology wit their smart control system but with almost every other major car company pricing both Android Auto and Car Play for free, there’s a lot of consumer choice for the tech-focused car consumer.
BMW say that their infotainment system is more complex than others’ do to a “more expensive wireless connection” but as we have seen with many aftermarket head units the implementation of wireless projection/mirroring is not that difficult — and to be honest should not be that expensive.
BMW Australia CEO, Vikram Pawah, said when pressed on the matter:
I would love to make all the options to be free, but it always depends on what the technology is for the future. Over time the cost of technology becomes affordable for everyone.
When asked when it would be coming to their cars he said the usual line of:
There is nothing to share at the moment, hold on for a month. We’ll talk about it again after a month.
Of course this comment does not outright say that Android Auto would be arriving on their cars soon (subscription fee or not) it is the most promising sign we have heard from BMW in a long with regarding Android Auto. It is more of a reading between the lines than a rumour but we are happy to think optimistically about the folks at BMW making a correct decision for once — expect the official announcement in a month’s time.
For those in the BMW market this could be a great addition to their cars but I would not hold my breath on them actually bringing wireless Android Auto any time soon.