As some of you may know Dension has been having a few issues with its latest release, the ICE-Link Plus. The new connector is meant to build on the success off the original ICE>Link (reviewed last spring) while including the functionality of the official iPod connector. However the biggest addition was to be the display of ID3 tags on the head unit.
That addition was to be available when a new version of the connectors software was released around the first of the year. While it still seems that ID3 tags should be available with the software upgrade it now appears they will only work on 2005 head units. Here’s a bit more from Tom and Dension:
“The ice>Link Plus will indeed display ID3v2 tags when the proper firmware is released. What we are finding out is that the pre-2005 will need more development – this does not say this will never be available.
An official statement is that we are looking into the situation at this time, and will release a firmware flash as soon as the ID3v2 text hurdle [on pre MY2005 Minis] is crossed.
Hopefully that clears up some of the confusion some have had with this feature. Initially we reported that ID3 tags would be available on all MINI models since that’s what Dension was reporting. Obviously that isn’t the case at this point.
The other issue with the ICE-Link Plus has been software conflicts due to the ICE-Link firmware. Previous ICE-Links have been relatively trouble free and typically much loved. Personally I’ve had the first version in my MINI for almost a year now and have enjoyed using it. However this new version has been beset with issues that have some users asking for refunds and others asking where to get the latest firmware. That said, it seems that things are starting to work as planed with the release of the last few version of the ICE-Link Plus firmware. Here are a couple of comments from the previous story we ran a few months ago about the ICE-Link Plus that illustrate some of the most reactions to the latest firmware:
I loaded 2.04 last night, no problems so far, course I didn’t really have any problems with 2.01. Just waiting for the IDv3 tag implementation now. – Jim
I just upgrade to Firmware 2.04 and everything seems to work as expected. But I’ve had surprises with the latest firmware upgrade a few days/jours after installation. So I’ll post some comments tomorrow after a full day of use. If you don’t hear from me anymore, that’s probably because my car has burned 😉 – Gregoire
This morning, I installed the latest update 2.05 (it can be found here). I have a 2005 mini-S convertible with H-K stereo. So far, it’s fixed all my problems, in particular with the “hot swap.” I’ve been able to turn the car on/off without my Ipod hooked up, and no problems (so far!) with turn signals and other electrical. – Susan
Firmware 2.04 works on my 2004 MCS with HK. No trouble so far after 24 hours of use. I’m happy after all the troubles I’ve had with previous Firmware. – Gregoire de Streel
For more comments from owners (and a few nightmare experiences with the initial firmware) check out all 149 comments to our original story here: Dension Introduces the ICE-Link Plus.
So it would seem things are almost back to normal with this latest version of the ICE-Link. We were planning on reviewing the ICE-Link Plus this month but we’ve decided to wait until ID3 tag support is implemented to give the product a chance to show-off all of it’s features. Until then we at MotoringFile think it’s important that a potential ICE-Link owner fully understands the situation and the previous issues. While we would still recommend the ICE-Link based on our experience with the first version, it’s important to make sure that you have the latest firmware on your iPod ready to be loaded before use.
The ICE-Link Plus is still the most integrated iPod solution available for the MINI. The Monster iCruze and the official BMW/MINI adapter don’t come close to the functionality or simplcity of the ICE-Link Plus. So while there are other options out there it’s still our opinion that the ICE-Link Plus is the best.
For those curious, you can download the latest Ice-Link Plus firmware here.