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New Bluetooth Integration and Armrest

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MINI will be releasing a new bluetooth system with armrest at the end of Q1 '05. The system is listed as only working with three phones: the SonyEricsson T610(6), and the Siemens S55/S56, and the Nokia 6310i. Further phones will work with adapters but it's unclear which phones and if they'll be able to take advantage of the bluetooth integration or if they will be able to fit within the armrest. It's also unclear if this will ever make it to the US. It's replacing a previous armrest/phone holder that, as far as I know, was never sold here.

Update: the US will be getting the new version of the steering wheel shown here with the phone controls built-in. It's unclear how (or if) they will work without the armrest.

Written By: MF Staff

  • Alejandro SanchezM

    That looks kind of complicated to retrofit. I like it better than the old one though.

  • David

    Man I hope this makes it over here. It would make it alot easier to drive a manual and talk on the phone. Plus this seems like a better, more seamless integration of a bluetooth system compared to the current bluetooth system available today.

  • SrBlanco

    I dont understand what the armrest has to do with the bluetooth kit. Does it just give bluetooth capability to phones that dont have bluetooth or does it replace the module that installs behind the dash?

    -michael

  • http://www.iinet.net.au/~sun/dlhome/ JB

    Its too early to be contemplating trading in my old mini, but with my phone supported and the LSD option now standard theres a few compelling reasons already, scary eh.

  • Dean

    I checked with my dealer about the bluetooth setup for my MINI. $700.00 option :0. I think I'll stick with my corded headset.

  • Owen Kelly

    The Armrest connector is purely to charge the phone, that's all. The bluetooth kit will work just as well if your phone is in your pocket. The idea is that as time goes on and more handsets are released, more phone cradles will appear. The e60 (New 5 series) still has new cradles coming out every two months.

    Owen. MINI Dealer.

  • Geoff

    I'm guesing here … but it sounds like the holder/charger in the armrest is just one part of this set-up (and maybe an optional part at that). Now all we need is for Verizon to wake up and start offering some decent Bluetooth phones!

  • alex

    Anyone know where those buttons are located?

  • BrantV

    The buttons are on the left hand side of 3 spoke MFSW. This is sounding like it's going to be expensive to retrofit.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    You might need to switch to a GSM provider if you want the latest bluetooth phones. So far the only phone they've (Motorola V710) ever had that should have bluetooth was crippled. Apparently Verizon doesn't like people taking pictures and freely transfering them without paying their fees.

  • GSKChicago

    I just picked up the Motorola MPX220 phone via Cingular. It won't be supported via this new system so far, but the phone is so new I can't even get a belt clip for the thing!

    I do have a Jabra wireless/bluetooth headset that works fairly well. Sometimes the reception is questionable… Anyone know how a bluetooth system installed in the car affects the reception versus the bluetooth headset(s)?

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    I also have a bluetooth phone and headset (SE T616 + SE HBH-600) and use it regularly. It's a great, fairly inexpensive way to come close to the functionality of the full bluetooth kit. However there are several things these kits do over just the bluetooth headset. You can check out a review we ran last spring here for more info.

  • Mike

    Does anyone know if the kit compatible with the 2-spoke wheel? If the armrest will be available as a separate part number?

  • alex

    yeah- I'd want it with the old steering wheel. Because there is a “blank” button on the MFSW, that the dealer always told me was for 'future use' in a hands-free phone kit…

  • Owen Kelly

    The blank on the old 2 Spoke MFSW will not be compatible with the Bluetooth Kit. It is used with third party wiring loom adaptors to control other functions on aftermarket head units.

    To answer the man who asked whether having the Bluetooth Car Kit would interfere with his headset, no it won't. Bluetooth isn't like FM where a stronger signal will wash out a weaker one, they'll happily work away.

    Owen.

  • GSKChicago

    Owen… Thanks. Actually, was curious if a Bluetooth system installed in the car would provide a stronger, less distorted signal than my bluetooth headset does. Thanks. :o)

  • Peter

    Its important to note that CDMA providers (Sprint, Verizon) are not offering bluetooth phones for a reason. They are worried about people using their phones as wireless modems on their new high speed 3G networks.

    Sprint is releasing a couple of phones (Trio 650) with crippled Bluetooth support. These phones will usually work with handsfree kits like this one, however will not work in other “profiles” (i.e. as a wireless modem).

    Sucky thing is is that those of us who pay for “Unlimited Vision” service through Sprint arn't exactly getting unlimited Vision. We get unlimited Vision on our phone but thats it.

    Peter

  • http://www.michiganmini.com Ryan

    Sprint PCS is poised to become the leader in bluetooth connectivity in 2005. Currently the best selection of BT enabled phones are GSM. However, Sprint currently has the SE-T608 available, with the Treo 650 scheduled for release this before Christmas. From what I hear from “inside” there are at least three more BT enabled phones scheduled for release in '05 (one being an LG). Verizon has backed off thier plans to release any BT enabled phones in the near future.

  • http://www.michiganmini.com Ryan

    PETE:

    The rumor that Sprint did not want to release BT phones due to increased data usage is only truth in part. Sprint announced in late October that there will be a release to fix the disabled tethering of the Treo 650. They have went on record to a number of media outlets stating that they don't “want to hinder users from using their devices as modems. However, subscribers that use their devices in this way may be subjected to a different rate plan to accommodate this usage.” (http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/5825)

    This will not affect BlueTooth connectivity to your car's internal phone system, and only relates to 3G data transfer.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    I still abhor these companies crippling phones to maintain their various cash-cows. How is it that other GSM providers (or pretty much any-other provider around the world for that matter) are able to offer slick world-phones with the freedom of full bluetooth, sell them at a low price and still make a profit. On top of all that ATT and Cingular have data networks that have download speeds as high or higher than Sprint too. I just don't buy it. I guess I need to go hit the Howard Forums or something and let out some frustration.

  • http://www.minisoforlando.org James

    I ditched Verizon the first day they allowed you to take your number with you for the reason they offered no Bluetooth phones. I switched to T-Mobile and got a Nokia 3650 with Bluetooth but was never able to use it as a modem to access the Internet using my PDA with Bluetooth. Only using the phone itself. We in the US are so far behind Europe and Asia with this stuff.

  • Juan Torres

    That is a shocking move by BMW/MINI for several reasons:

    • Research indicates Europeans switch cell phones often (I believe every 18 months on average), and MINI is a European manufacturer. Some of the motivation to constantly switch phones is due to their perception as a status symbol. I think a lot of Mini owners are brand and value conscious (though not in a negative way) and would tend to be inclined to upgrade their phones more often than not.

    • If anything, I believe Mini owners as a whole have shown themselves to be (and are marketed as) individuals who like to set themselves apart from the pack; therefore, they would be inclined to be of the early-adopter mindset and switch cell phones often.

    *Influencing the first two points is the fact that people can now transfer their cell phone numbers between carriers (at least in the U.S.) makes switching cell phones easier.

    • Isolating your perspective buyer's demographic to 3 (albeit somewhat popular) phones.

    • From a cost perspective, I would think a more universal approach would keep R&D costs down in the years to come.

    Anyway, my $0.02 for what it's worth.

  • UltraMINI

    I have Sony Ericsson Z600 with Sony HCB30 bluetooth car kit. Thank to Motoringfile and Mini2 websites that I was able to collect different How To instructions to install the Sony bluetooth kit.

    It only cost me around $85 ($82 car kit from eBay and $3 plugs from Fry's) that now I can simplely press a button and use the voice control from the Sony Z600 to make all my phone calls without holding the phone and dial a number.

    I love the new armrest to hold the phone. It is always nice to have everything from the dealers. However, with a fun DIY, you can have same function.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    That's a sweet phone and a sweet set-up.

  • karatay

    hi i'm from turkey and i need a armrest for my '05 mini but i couldn' choose anyone of these.. will it be available fot europe? if not,how can i buy it?

  • Michael Babischkin

    James, it can be done depending on your PDA. I have a Sony Ericisson T-610 and I go online all the time with my Ipaq using the Bluetooth connection. You just need the dialing string and the unlimited T-Zones service.

  • Majest

    Ok i have 2 BIG questions…

    First, is this Q1 '05 new and improved from the Bluetooth setup that Mini is offering me right now (my car is waiting at the show room for me to make a dission on this) They claim that it won't even work with my RAZR V3 because it's not on some list. Bluetooth is Bluetooth right???

    If this is new and improved will it work with a wider selection of phones? Better features? Is it worth the wait?

    I hope someone answers soon I'm supposed to pick up anyday now.

    majest owener to be

  • http://www.blueserker.com Barb

    Hey — I can't find anything about the Bluetooth option on the Mini website. Is it even up there?

  • Fede

    I spoke with my dealer today (European !)

    He told me that every phone should be able to connect via bluetooth and talk, but some advanced features (i.e. contacts on the navi lcd) are supported only on a limited number of models.

  • Jim

    Really cool design. Is this going to be the retrofitable Bluetooth kit? I am curious as to how they are modifying an existing steering wheel with the controls. Also is the armrest required (i.e. where is the electronics buried) – or just an additional “choice” for phone storage and charging?

  • http://www.damajoo.org/phpBB2/album_personal.php?user_id=60 HyperWorksMCS

    Hmmm, our Jan build ’05 came with the steering wheel with phone controls. Does that mean it’s already rewired for bluetooth? That would be cool =:-)

    http://www.damajoo.org/phpBB2/albumpic.php?picid=1316.jpg

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