MINI Brings Trip Planning In-Cockpit with MINI Connected XL Journey Mate

Since its inception, MINI has been working to make MINI Connected smarter and better integrated. While so far much of MINI Connected’s functionality has focused on things like streaming music, driver feedback and economical driving, today they’ve announced a new app for MINI Connected XL called Journey Mate. By integrating the built-in navigation system with real-time traffic info, your own calendar appointments, nearby gas stations and available parking, Journey Mate is designed to help get you where you’re going and provide helpful context along the way.

We’ve said from the start that the potential of MINI Connected is perhaps its most appealing feature. As the system gets more and more well integrated into the digital world around us, it can only get more useful. For those of you looking for more than just the next streaming music service, this app’s for you.

As soon as any of you new F56 owners get your hands on this, we’d love to hear from you on how it works. Meanwhile, here’s full details from MINI:

MINI Connected XL Journey Mate

Official Release: The new MINI comfortably accommodates four passengers, however now there is room for a fifth up front – the MINI Connected XL Journey Mate. This clever new app not only helps the driver with navigation but also supplies individually tailored information on the road, adapted to suit the current driving situation, making every MINI trip even safer, more comfortable and more exciting than ever before. The system knows the driver’s preferred route, reminds him when it is time to refuel, messages him about impending appointments or planned telephone calls, reports traffic information in real time, assists in locating parking spaces, and directs the driver on foot to his final destination. The MINI Connected XL Journey Mate is available for the new MINI from April 2014. To use the system, the vehicle must be equipped with the Wired package, which includes the Professional Navigation System.

The diverse functions of this innovative travel companion have been merged into an app, which evaluates data from various sources and uses this to generate a range of useful information for the driver. Full use is made of the unique possibilities afforded by the intelligent networking between driver, vehicle and the environment resulting from incorporating the Apple iPhone in the operating system of the MINI. For MINI Fans who spend a lot of time in their cars, the MINI Connected XL Journey Mate quickly becomes a trusted companion, and one that quickly shows its usefulness not only in the vehicle but also on the smartphone.

MINI Connected XL Journey Mate

Apple iPhone users can plan a trip on their mobile phone, taking into account calendar entries and any appointments they have at their destination. As soon as the smartphone is connected to the MINI at the beginning of the journey, the MINI Connected XL Journey Mate calculates whether there is enough fuel for the trip and highlights service stations en route, it indicates the expected time of arrival and gives weather information for the final destination. All this and Real Time Traffic Information is displayed on the MINI’s 8.8-inch on-board monitor. The system is navigable via the new MINI Touch Controller and multifunctional steering wheel buttons and is intuitive and simple to use.

In the course of the journey, the MINI Connected XL Journey Mate guides the driver when required to a petrol station that can be reached without any major diversion, assists in selecting intermediate stopping points, and suggests possibilities for parking in the vicinity of the destination. In addition, the virtual travel companion can remind the driver of particular activities by emitting audible or visual signals. Upon request, the MINI Connected XL Journey Mate can also remind him of calendar entries from his iPhone. Self-composed memos can be stored and then called up at the appropriate moments. The app also includes a useful pedestrian navigation service that runs on the smartphone, designed to show the way from the parking space to the destination and back to the car.

Completed trips can be stored, and then later amended. The MINI Connected XL Journey Mate will reliably update the trip with any new information.

Source: MINI

  • Tim H

    Any word on it’s release? At least in Canada only mini connected is available as of today.

    • Canuck

      I too am in Canada and would LOVE to know when the app will be available here. I went into my local MINI dealership yesterday and they hadn’t even heard of it. And the guy I spoke with couldn’t even give me contact info for someone who would have the answer. Nathaniel, is there any way you can find out? Please, please, please. We have no access to live-traffic on the MINI nav system here at all right now 🙁

      • Tim H

        I’ve been scouring the internet. I’ve only gotten myself confused. Is journey mate xl a version of the nav system in the car or is there an actual full on different app? I even tried looking it up in itunes for different countries and I can’t even see the thing.

  • Ninja636

    I have just downloaded it to my iPhone in the UK. The only slight issue I have is that I don’t have the car today….

  • b-

    This is pretty cool, will be very interested to see how well it functions.

  • FReigM

    I just hope that MINI still keeps improving and keeps maintaining the ‘old’ Connected. Pushing for Spotify integration would be much appreciated.

  • Dustin Trotter

    iPhone, iPhone, iPhone. One step forward, two steps back. 52.1% of Americans use Android vs. 41.3% iOS. That’s a lot of people to ignore.

    • MINIs data shows that the majority of owners are iOS users. Additionally the percentage of iOS users who use features like this is quite a bit higher based on industry data.

      All that said BMW is supposedly moving to more parity between services for both platforms.

      • Dustin Trotter

        I get that and I’m glad they’re working on the disparity. But if you want new customers… you kinda need to not ostracize them.

        Also, Gabe… Love your blog here. Been a big fan since the begining of MiniFile.

        • Not supporting isn’t the same thing as “ostracizing”. Android isn’t exactly the most consistent OS to support. With so many devices there’s no guarantee the feature set you’r trying to support is available on any one of the bazillion devices running Android.

          Developers like InMusic (Akai Pro, Numark, Alesis, ION, M-Audio) are a good example of why companies support iOS first. If you’re making a turntable designed to house a tablet as the brains, you’d have to make two-dozen different housings just to accommodate all the flavors of Android tablets. With iOS there are about three or four form factors – that’s it, and you reach nearly half of all tablet users. Supporting iOS first is a no-brainer. Much more about hardware & it’s ability to support specific form factors and functions goes into the decision on what to support than just how many people are using an OS.

          Android’s blessing of cheap, abundant choices on hardware is also its problem for support from some developers, including car manufacturers. They aren’t ostracizing anyone, they don’t hate Android, they’re just making cost-effective business decisions.

      • R.O

        While majority of MINI owners may be ios users, then MINI should not required buyers to have Mini Connected if they want the GPS. Because if you don’t have an iphone, then you’re paying for something you won’t use,i.e. Mini Connected. Heck I don’t even own a smartphone.

        Give buyers the option of just getting the GPS without Mini Connected or the media package.

        • That’s not quite the case. A lot of MINI Connected’s features can be accessed without having a smartphone plugged in. The phone is there as an internet antennae as well as a path for software updates. All the car’s infotainment features and a number of other “apps” don’t actually require a phone to be plugged in. It’s also simply the base package for getting the screen and what not in the car in the first place (so that you can then have the nav if you want it). Also, (and Gabe, correct me if I’m wrong here) compared to past MINI systems, the Nav has actually come down in price slightly, even including Connected. Personally, I think it ought to be the other way ‘round. In this day and age, and at this price point, seems like Nav should just be included in MINI Connected and be done with it. Also, you can run MINI Connected off any iOS device, including an iPad or an iPod Touch. It need not tie up your phone, whatever OS it happens to be.

        • Jim

          Sorry, but I’m having an especially dense day. Does using MINI Connected XL mean that I could display screens from the built-in GPS/nav in my iPhone (Apple Maps/Gmaps?) and not need to purchase MINI’s nav system? Or would I just get the turn-by-turn audio? Thanks for unconfusing me…

        • I’ve not used the newest version of the system yet, so I don’t know about display mirroring from the phone/iPad. Perhaps Gabe has that detail. As a default, MINI Connected will not just play whatever audio happens to be coming from your device. Instead, it goes and gets media like music and podcasts from the phone and plays those files, or it uses the phone to stream audio from the internet. Bluetooth integration, on the other hand, will take all your audio from your iPhone, turn-by-turn directions included.

        • Unless a car’s system is listed as Apple CarPlay compliant, it won’t use Apple’s GPS/Maps app, it will have its own Nav with MINI’s UI not Apple’s. If they add CarPlay to MINI Connected, then you’d have your choice of using MINI’s Nav or Apple’s.

        • lawrothegreat

          There’s so much built into the car’s menu that I’m not sure you need a smartphone connected via Mini Connected anyway. I’ve used mini connected via a USB cable through my work iPhone and to be honest I’ve found the apps a little gimmicky. The car’s brilliant sat nav, built in office functions, vehicle information and settings, and ability to connect to my phone (windows phone 8) wirelessly through the extended Bluetooth for music etc. is keeping me very happy.

      • mainly because they only have the Connected stuff working on iOS. seems like a rigged study imo if the only devices you support are iOS and of course the most popular phone os will be iOS. 🙂

        • I’m talking about data based on owners. Not what is being used. BTW it’s cross platform now.

    • Name

      Would you like some cheese with that whine? Google (Android) partnerships (i.e., Open Automotive Alliance) – Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai Apple (iOS) partnerships – Audi, BMW, Chrysler, GM, Honda Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota

      Perhaps you should consider one of the former?

      • Dustin Trotter

        That’s an intelligent reply. Thanks for your input. Have anything racist, sexist or homophobic to add from the exclusionary 19th century?

        • At this rate, this discussion should validate Godwin’s Law in 3..2..1…


        • Jason

          god nathaniel you’re such a nazi hitler was a hipster, hipsters own iphones, mini master race


        • You are like, literally worse than Hitler. Literally.

        • Name

          No, I do have have anything racist, sexist, or homophobic to add. Not sure where you got that idea. You ostensibly are tired of hearing about “iPhone(s), iPhone(s), iPhone(s),” and you seem to suggest that MINI purposely has “ignored” and “ostracized” Android users. As other users have posted, I’m sure BMW/MINI has good reasons to currently focus on iOS. I’m sure it was not to purposely hurt the feelings of 52.1% of American smartphone users. In the meantime, I just simply suggested that Android fanbois who require immediate smartphone integration with their car look elsewhere.

    • Kevin Bartlett

      There must be a good reason they continue to support only iOS.

      Android development has always gotten a bad rap from the software community as being difficult, and the Android ecosystem is notorious for not having users on the same version and that makes writing software that everyone can use very difficult too.

      Not defending their choices but I can understand the reasoning behind them.

      • ken valley

        There is a good reason, those numbers Dustin quote, like all numbers can hide the truth.

        As Gabe said, the majority of Mini users own iPhones. So Dustin’s numbers mean nothing in this case.

        So of course Mini is going to support the iPhone first.

        Now add to the fact that iPhone users spend more money on apps, accessories and the new iPhones then android users and Mini as a marketing entity can see that if they offer and expensive add on like the Mini Connected system, they know that iPhones users are -more- likely to spend the cash and add Connected to their minis padding the profit of each car for mini.

        Those reasons are enough IMO for iPhone first in mini. To say nothing of the fact Mini only has to support 6 or so iPhone models compared to literally thousands of fragmented android devices each running a fragmented Android OS landscape where only a single digit number of android users are using the latest version of their OS. (compared to 80-95 %) of iPhone users using iOS 7 and you have it MUCH easier supporting the iPhone.

        It’s all about ease of support and profit. And in Mini (and my eyes) the iPhone gives them both.

      • John

        What about the shape of iPhones? It is much easier making a phone cradle for the 4S and one for the 5/5S. That is two cradles. How many different sizes are there for Android phones? I think in the near future we will see just a bluetooth connection without any type of cradle. Then you don’t need to worry about different phones fitting. It would just come down to having the software for both platforms.

    • R.O

      Here, here! paying for something that a person can’t use is a waste. Some only want the GPS but are forced by MINI to get Connected as part of a package for the GPS (Nav).

  • brifee

    Couldn’t care less. I’m buying a car not a computer.

    • Tim H

      I think it’s awesome. detours, parking lots, etc… great advice for the painful part of driving. Knowing what’s going on in a few km is cool tech. Enhances the driving i think.

    • Jason

      Technically you’re buying both.

      • John

        Yeah a MINI without a ECM wouldn’t run too well ;D

  • lawrothegreat

    I used this last night on my F56 (8.8″ screen) using an iPhone – it works well but traffic information lags by a couple of seconds as you change the map scale. It’s worth noting that the F56 seems to integrate well with Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS as well, being able to wirelessly access, control and play music from such devices. The F56 displays album art as well.

  • Roger Seeley

    Aww thats cute…but hey MINI…lets not forget the legions of people with R platform cars…stop acting like we dont exist anymore and GIVE US AN UPDATE WITH ANDROID SUPPORT…if Rovio can port angry birds from iOS to Android…explain to me why MINI doesnt do the same…bunch of fricken clowns

    • Tim H

      people buy angry birds…it’s revenue generating. this is a free app isn’t it?

      • Roger Seeley

        yea but i know plenty of people who decided not to spend the 1500-2k for the Connected/Nav because there was no app support at the time and didnt want to buy yet another device so it is revenue generating

  • RakSiam

    Wait a minute. I thought this new version of Connected was supposed to work with Android as well as iOS. That’s what the literature says. I assume it is certain phone models or Android versions only though. With smartphones having built in GPS these days and Google Maps it seems like it would make more sense for the system to integrate with the phone’s own apps rather than having a separate Nav system. I have Connected in my R58 and while it can’t do these app things, the Bluetooth connection works well with my Nexus 4 (and the Samsung phone I used to have) for mp3s or internet radio. The display shows the station info when I am listening to radio or track info for mp3s. And the steering wheel buttons can advance tracks. Some album art shows up but not all. And if I am using the phone’s GPS I get the turn by turn audio instructions through the audio system.

    • New apps for Connected may roll out one platform at a time.

    • lawrothegreat

      I can’t imagine a smartphone-run app being anywhere near as good as the built-in system which is based on BMW’s professional system.

      • Actually the smartphone-based navigation apps are hands-down better than any in-car unit (BMW/MINI included) or even stand-alone GPS units like a Garmin. The UI is better, the screens are higher resolution, and the results are always up-to-date. Run that experience on something larger like an iPad and there’s just no comparison. The only downside is that most apps require a data connection for map data, and the high-res location requests via the phone’s GPS are very power-hungry, so you’ve got to be plugged into a power source. Small hurdles though, for a vastly better experience. As others have said, the future will be my iPhone’s map app of choice simply displaying on the car’s screen and directions coming through the speakers.

        • lawrothegreat

          I understand your arguments but I’m not convinced. The latest sat nav which also projects directions into the heads up display is very good. The big plus point for me is having a built in system rather than having to plug/unplug a phone every time you get in the car, or if connecting wirelessly, not having to worry about Bluetooth connection issues which invariably happen. If I stop at a service station en route, I can take my phone with me without interrupting the set up. Then you’ve got the issue of changing phones/software integration issues during the time that you own the car (3 years for me).

        • Very good points all, but where the smartphone navigation wins for me is in the interface. The directions are clearer, the map is interactive in better ways, but most of all, the ability to search for and find the place I want to go in the first place is the real killer feature. Most in-car systems are utterly useless unless I happen to know the address. So often, I end up having to first look the destination up on the phone, then input the address through whatever awkward, drill-down interface the car has built in. Even if it’s touch screen, it’s dozens of inputs to get from city, to street, to number, etc. On the phone, it’s two touches once I’ve found what I searched for. If it’s already saved in my contacts, I can even just ask for it verbally. That ease-of-use trumps everything else, in my opinion. Although I’d love to see the car screen mirror the app large and bright.

  • Mark @ MINI of the Main Line

    This whole discussion is why I still have not traded my flip phone.

  • Mark @ MINI of the Main Line

    This whole discussion is why I still have not traded my flip phone.

  • A year and a half have gone by since I purchased my MINI with MINI Connected and not one firmware update has been issued and only one software (app) update has been done, despite my sending a list of 18 ways to improve on MINI Connected to my dealer, MINI corporate, and directly to Elmar Frickenstein, Executive V.P. of electronics and Driving Experience in Germany. I think they need to start treating the connected car more seriously. Integrating features keeps driver’s eyes on the road instead of on their smartphone. Had I known the commitment would be so lackluster, I might not have purchased it. Heck, the iPhone5 Lightning cable isn’t even available yet! #disappointed

    • Paul Mallatt

      I completely agree with Soundzilla. I too have sent numerous suggestions to my dealer and MINI regional offices here in Chicago. Nothing, zip, nada! Very frustrating.

  • jordan

    Iv just downloaded it. Will test it out tonight, The location feature is pretty accurate will give it a test tonight on way home

  • Jordan

    I had a quick okay with it last night, Traffic Radar dint work…… But the journey planner is quite useful. Just sort out your trip on your phone plug it in and it uploads it to the sat nav. that’s it really…

  • Mario Meyer

    Honestly I have the new Mini, I got it with the Mini Connected package and not the Connected XL package, seeing that even the salesman thought that I could just use my phones gps and mirror/send to my Mini Connected… so now you sit with apps Like Glympse, Foursquare, etc that is totally useless because you don’t have the built in GPS, why can the Journey Mate, Glypse etc apps pre-load the routes and maps when it is not connected to my mini but as soon as you connect it to the car is says you need the Connected XL package. I understand that the integrated GPS is far moresuperior to that of my iPhone, but why not just give the option of a basic (“watered down”) functionality for those who wish to use their phones….it’s seriously ridiculous. The Renault Cleo, and Vauxhall/Opel Adam and various other not so premium less pricey less stylish, and less trendy vehicles allow you to mirror your phone… It’s ridiculous !!