BMW is expanding its technological reach with new features for its ConnectedDrive system, according to CarTech. The newest innovation is the integration of the iPhone calendar app. With it, drivers will be able to call up the calendar on their car's center screen, see upcoming appointments, and read out details.
iPhone calendar integration joins with existing apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pandora, all current features of ConnectedDrive. BMW's app efforts are only enabled on iPhone at present, but the company says it is expanding integration for Android, which should roll out next year.
BMW is also opening up to third party developers. It showed Qype integration, which is essentially Yelp for Europe, and Wiki Local, an app that ties Wikipedia searches to nearby locations. Audi has already launched a version of Wiki Local in its A7 and A6 models. The MOG streaming music service also looks to be high on BMW's list.
As these apps rely on an open data connection, currently served through a smartphone, BMW has also been researching 4G (LTE) data connections. From the information it has released, BMW seems to be serious about including a dedicated data connection in the car, similar to Audi's. In Europe, BMW has tested its 4G in car connection to 70 mbps peak download speeds, with 23 mbps as an average in urban areas. These data speeds would permit many advanced features.
With app integration, BMW will be able to give current owners new features in their current cars. Although there will be some obsolescence with older chips and LCDs, the apps can be kept fresh, letting a five year-old car have similar cabin tech as a new car. Because of that promise, app integration is likely to spread through the automotive market more rapidly than past technologies, such as GPS or Bluetooth. —Paul DucheneBack to News