BMW to rely on Android Automotive in the future

BMW is facing big changes. However, physical component suppliers are not affected. Instead, the traditional Bavarian company wants to go the other way when it comes to software. For example, future BMWs will use an improved infotainment system that no longer relies on Linux but Android Automotive.

Big announcement from BMW at CES 2023

It’s been a long time since CES in Las Vegas was little more than a showcase of upcoming technological highlights for home and consumer electronics. Over the past few years, we have seen more and more presentations by manufacturers in the automotive industry at technology trade shows held in the Nevada desert. BMW announced the iX M60 last year. This year, however, Bavarian Motorworks has focused on its new flagships, the 5 Series and 7 Series. It wasn’t just attractive features, such as the large multimedia screen in the back of the BMW i7.

We also got to see the new infotainment system. The BMW 5 Series and 7 Series continue to rely on Linux version 8.5, but future models will come with iDrive 9, a new operating system based on Android Automotive. A report from BMWblog shows that jumping to version 9 will lead to changes. iDrive 9 could therefore premiere in the upcoming BMW X1 and X2. However, they also stress that the BMW 5-series and 7-series Linux-based OS should be identical visually and in terms of user reach.

Will Android Automotive lose the driver controller?

When BMW insists that version 8.5 (Linux) and version 9 (Android Automotive) are no different from each other in terms of appearance and usage options, the natural question arises as to why manufacturers switch to Android in the first place. The answer is very simple. With Android, BMW is also introducing an app store in its vehicles. Mobiflip reports that this is the Faurecia Aptoide app store. You may be wondering why Android doesn’t allow access to the Google Play Store either. Android Automotive is an open source solution. This will not only allow BMW to integrate the operating system into future vehicles without licensing costs.

On top of that, it has more say in the app store realm, potentially opening up additional revenue opportunities. Unless Google Automotiv Services (GAS) is used. For users, the advantage is that no data is passed to the search engine giants. Even those who dislike the iDrive control unit in the center console should be happy with the continuation of Linux. Ultimately, this too will be deprecated in Android Automotive and replaced by touch controls on the display itself. If you don’t feel like it, you can also use your voice conveniently. After all, the major automaker had already announced last year that Alexa, the smart voice assistant, would be on his future BMW fleet.

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