MINI Has No Plans to Support Android Auto

With MINI set to launch CarPlay in the Clubman and Countryman beginning with June production, thoughts for some have turned to Android Auto. For over a year we’ve heard that BMW/MINI were testing Android Auto for possible inclusion along side CarPlay for a later rollout. Now we have confirmation that BMW/MINI has decided to not integrate Android Auto in future cars.

Techcrunch spoke with Dieter May, BMW’s senior vice president of Digital Services and Business Models and got the scoop:

“We offer [Apple’s] CarPlay as an option but not Android Auto,” he said. “We believe the changes that are coming to the inside of the car and the user experience — like self-driving cars — you have to control the customer interface. That’s part of the brand experience and for that, I don’t want to have an Android screen and I especially want to be able to deeply integrate these systems.”

What is particularly interesting is BMW/MINI’s continued focus on A2A (Apps for Auto) which powers MINI’s MINI Connected and BMW’s ConnectedDrive platforms. The system is fundamentally different than CarPlay because it’s controlled so tightly by BMW and MINI. The upside is that BMW allows these apps to integrate deeper into the car because the technically framework and software is (theoretically) more stable and thus safer. It also allows developers to separate the software side of the experience from the hardware of the car itself – something that is tied to seven year product cycles.

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Of course the issue that’s easy to see for anyone using the current state version of this is the lack of innovation and even updates to app functionality.

Where BMW/MINI is interested in being more open is in the world of 3rd part voice first interfaces like Cortana and Alexa. BMW/MINI intend to eventually build a technical framework that can communicate to many if not all of them.

  • RakSiam

    one of the reasons I left MINI behind

  • r_k_w
    Dieter May — “I don’t want to have an Android screen”

    And what is so different about CarPlay that makes it acceptable?

    It sounds like they didn’t want CarPlay either, but were forced to by customer demand. In the end, they will also include Android Auto to preserve sales.

  • b-

    The root of the problem is still All the flavors of Android not working with all the different phones and all the different carriers. It is total crap when one has a phone that can be updated but your carrier doesn’t support the OS update for that phone. iOS has a really good adoption rate for new iOS versions so Apple has and will always be easier to work with for things like this.

    • r_k_w

      That is not an issue. Chevrolet, Hyundai and others have cars with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, along with aftermarket companies like Pioneer, Kenwood, etc. BMW’s choice is not for technical reasons but because they think they are better. The marketplace will decide.

      • The reason is stated as not wanting to allow for the variability of design and layout that Android Auto offers. BMW is very focused on consistency of automotive grade interfaces.

        • Mendel Tomas

          Fair enough, Gabe. However, why would BMW/Mini care about that? That’s a customer’s decision. The risk for BMW/Mini is that perhaps the lack of Android Auto integration may cause a buyer to purchase a vehicle from a competing manufacturer.

        • The risks as they see it:

          • Safety risk due to inconsistent automotive interfaces

          • Safety risk due to non automotive grade design

          • Directly connecting the BMW or MINI in car experience to something that is poorly designed and doesn’t reflect BMW or MINI brand and design values

  • darex

    No problem. I have no plans to support Android either. LOL

    • WANDERLUST srt

      Yep, I too left android behind years ago. Apple is just better and has been for years. Phones are cheap, why settle for an inferior system.

  • Kurtster

    Android is both its own blessing and its own curse. Consumers get a vast array of hardware on which to run their chosen OS. That makes phones abundant and competitive. On the other hand, developers making hardware, whether it’s DJ gear or a car, to work with consumer devices need only support a handful of options with iOS, where in the Android world they must support hundreds of devices, all with their own different flavors of UI and widely varying feature sets.

    Building hardware around iOS makes it easier to reach a larger number of people with one development project.

    As we’ve seen here in the comments, there will be a segment of people who won’t buy a car because it doesn’t support tight integration of their phone’s OS, but I believe that number is pretty small. There are so many other factors people consider above connectivity that I think they will still be able to be profitable and successful without those who need Android Auto in their car.

  • Peter Del Frate

    Android May not be your favorite OS, but the Android Auto application is by miles far superior than Apple Carplay. There is no better mapping software than Google maps…this is not opinion but fact.

  • EM1

    Those that have already have the Countryman should be allowed to download the interface onto their stereo system. More crook tatics.