BMW is finally going to start integrating Android Auto into its cars starting in July 2020, the automaker announced Wednesday. And not only that, but it will be wireless Android Auto, making BMW one of the few automakers to offer Google’s smartphone-powered in-car infotainment option without requiring owners to plug in.
Android Auto will appear on all BMW vehicles equipped the 7.0 version of the company’s in-car software (iDrive) and the company’s “Live Cockpit Professional” hardware (a fancy name for “the biggest touchscreens”), which are available on all 2019 / 2020 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, and 8 Series sedans, as well as the newest X3, X5, and X7 SUVs. (It will also be available on the 2020 X6 SUV.) Since it’s the wireless version of Android Auto, owners will have to use Pixel, Nexus, or Samsung smartphones.
BMW is one of the last major automakers holding out on Android Auto, especially after Toyota announced earlier this year that it was finally adding the functionality (along with Apple CarPlay) in some of its own 2020 models. BMW has offered Apple’s CarPlay for a few years now, but the automaker actually charged owners an extra fee to use it — until last week when it finally reversed that decision.
As for why it took so long to embrace Android Auto, a BMW spokesperson says a “majority of our customers were using iOS mobile devices” over the last few years, so “Apple CarPlay was our main focus.” But, that spokesperson says, BMW customers “have made it clear though that they would like to have Android Auto integration available going forward which that leads us to today’s announcement.”