Android Apps NOT Coming Soon to BMWs

With the exception of the Android Remote app that will launch before the end of the year there will be no future offerings for the current crop of BMWs. We learned this hard truth about the number one smartphone operating system from one of the BMW Connected Drive engineers during a recent trip to the FIZ (R&D center) in Munich.

The reason for this is that until recently, the Android operating system did not have a standardized protocol for interaction with outside devices. With Android being an “open ” system each phone and carrier could have different protocols making it almost impossible for devices to communicate in a similar manner with an outside device. The ability for App designers to create something to communicate with the car would be so truncated and device carrier specific that it would be a never ending battle. The current BMW radio “head units ” were designed prior to this protocol and do not have the ability to be upgraded.

With Android now specifying how devices will communicate with peripherals as part of the OS underlying structure BMW can now design that into future head unit designs- meaning that products using the next head unit design (expect 2013) will be fully Android compatible.

BMW is aware that Android has a larger user base than iOS, and they have been trying to find a solution for the current vehicles and will continue to although right now it is not possible- Mind you the engineer had a Samsung phone powered by Android as his personal phone so he obviously wants Android support.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • Dr Obnxs

    Well, they could do what most companies would do: Publsih an API document that explains how to talk to the head unit and let the programmers who wanted to talk to the head units take it from there. The “Hack the iBus” and “CarPC” crowds would surely love the help, and take it from there.

    • Anonymous

      My understanding is that it has more to do with the two-way communication and how Android did not have a standard protocol for the way it exchanged information with peripherals and how each phone and each provider was different.

      With the iPhone this is not an issue- one product one SDK/API. The engineer said Android was a mess- but they have made changes.

  • Seems that if you develop AN official app for Droid that knows how to communicate with the car that would work just fine.  Is BMW not aware that big-name publishers and companies are capable of releasing apps to Droid Market?  Seems more like laziness and not wanting to offend the ghost of Steve Jobs. Droid didn’t become the most popular phone OS by being difficult to write code for, in fact quite the opposite.