A month ago MINI released its new brand strategy focused on a less is more philosophy and a higher degree of sophistication. While the 2016 Clubman was held up as an example of this, the first tangible piece of the strategy to hit the market will be a completely redesigned MINI Connected App. Gone are the superfluous features that have littered the app for years. Instead we have a very focused set of functionality that seeks to solve a few key problems in a simple and effective way.
It would make a lot of sense to see the same philosophical changes come to the BMW app given the market position of the brand. It’s also a strategy that is proven within the software industry. Focus on core functionality that becomes a daily part of users’ lives and keep the experience simple and easy to use. Given the shared roadmap for both MINI and BMW Connected one would assume that this is exactly what will happen. However at this point there is no official statement from BMW on the matter.
The new app replaces the old MINI Connected and will be available on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store as a free update.
Official Release: After five years, the MINI Connected app is undergoing a major relaunch, with the new version available to download from mid-August. The design follows the same principles applied to the brand’s realignment as recently revealed, meaning that the focus has been clearly placed on the essentials. In the same way as the brand has now adopted a much more pared-down overall approach, MINI Connected will in future concentrate on driving-related functions.
From now on, the MINI Connected App will comprise the following features:
– MINI Streetwise
– The basic functions Status, Apps and Profile
– Online Search
– Sports Instruments and Force Meter
MINI Streetwise: the new central feature of the MINI Connected app.
MINI Streetwise, the MINI Connected app’s new application, lets users display the best route on their smartphone before the journey has even started. For this purpose, the app makes use of personal driving data together with the user’s own past journeys, and shows information such as journey duration and fuel consumption. The application determines the current location and displays all destinations recorded to date and the best routes on the smartphone. If several drives to the same destination have already been recorded, MINI Streetwise will calculate the user’s personal best route as the recommended option. Clicking on the destination pin calls up the estimated time of arrival together with alternative routes, including data such as distance, journey duration and fuel consumption. Users can choose to have the places displayed on a map or as a list. This same information can also be visualised in the Centre Instrument once the smartphone has been connected to the MINI. Drivers therefore always have a clear recommendation for the best way to get from A to B.
The other menu items in the MINI Connected app at a glance.
The vehicle’s location, fuel level, potential range and the last journey recorded can be found under the menu item “Status”. Clicking on the location opens a map view showing the route to the parked car. All available and installed apps are listed under “Apps”, providing users with a quick summary of all the applications that can be used in the vehicle via MINI Connected, as well as the third-party apps that are available for their MINI in the App Store or are already installed on the smartphone and linked to the vehicle. In addition to this there is the “Profile” menu item, where users can enter a name for themselves or their MINI, upload a photo and call up their personal driving statistics, including total distance, total driving time and average consumption. Finally, users will find all app information and MINI Connected tutorials under “Information.”
MINI Connected comes with the performance-oriented vehicle apps Sports Instruments and Force Meter.
The Sports Instruments and Force Meter applications can be called up directly in the MINI Centre Instrument to display performance data. Sports Instruments shows engine data including rev speed, torque, engine temperature and current engine output. The Force Meter application, meanwhile, visualises all accelerating forces on the screen while on the move, using graphics to indicate the current longitudinal and lateral acceleration in sectors surrounding a virtual MINI in the centre of the display.
Online Search and Calendar complete the range of MINI Connected features.
Online Search can be used to quickly find places and addresses while in the car and transfer them straight to the optional MINI navigation system for route planning. It is possible to place phone calls directly from the Online Search function as well, for instance to make a reservation in a restaurant. MINI Connected also allows the vehicle to connect to the smartphone’s calendar. All appointments and the to-do list are then shown in the vehicle display, together with details such as attendees, phone numbers and addresses, and can be imported into the navigation system as destinations, while calls can be placed directly via the vehicle’s hands-free system.