Touchscreen Infotainment Systems Coming to BMWs

In the latest episode of White Roof Radio, we dedicated some time talking about the state of current infotainment systems. Needless to say it is not great, but seeing a number of established technology companies and smaller players entering the space makes us believe there’s hope for a brighter future. In the meantime, car companies continue to develop their offering and it appears that BMW might complement the interior design of its models with touchscreens sooner rather than later.

Yesterday, Autocar published a series of quotes from Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Group Director of Design regarding the possible addition of touchscreens to BMW’s infotainment system. From his perspective, touchscreens will be progressively appearing in BMW cars, starting with “i” models, in the form of curved surfaces that will complement the existing rotary controller.

These direct quotes from Adrian van Hooydonk are exciting because they confirm what our sources have been telling us for the past four years: the BMW Group is working on touchscreen technology and it will become available in BMWs and MINIs in the future. Stepping back and looking at what BMW also announced at CES, drivers will soon be able to interact with an infotainment system through a combination of voice, gesture and touch controls. However, it is difficult to say at this point if such a mix of technologies will gain traction among buyers given the steep learning this might represent for non-technology savvy individuals.

While the MINI and BMW labs must be working on fascinating ways to make our lives better, I question the use of curved touchscreens. It’s not that curved touchscreens don’t make sense, but touchscreens in cars – regardless of the car brand – have been pretty terrible so far compared to what’s found on Apple devices. So the move to curved touchscreens, while Apple has yet to release a fully curved-glass device, is quite “unexpected.”

PS: I know that touchscreen electronics exist beside the realm of Apple devices, but let’s be honest, Apple’s are best-in-class when it comes to consumer products.