The MINI Connected system is old news to MINI fans and MotoringFile readers, but for the tech world at large, people are just starting to realize what MINI is up to in this regard. Criticism abound, like they do for any tech system, but at its foundation MINI Connected is a particularly innovative system in the automotive infotainment world. Specifically, that it’s scalable and extensible with new apps and updates delivered right through your iPhone. Has MINI gotten every detail right? Of course not, but the fact that the system can be updated in a matter of months, rather than years, is a huge leap forward in automotive tech.

Online tech magazine Engadget was on hand for the Paceman launch a few weeks ago, but in their review they chose to focus on the technological aspects of MINI’s new two door:

The line between whiz-bang functionality and an unnecessary distraction couldn’t possibly be blurrier, and for technology enthusiasts, we’re apt to see that line skewed a bit to the liberal side. It’s hard to deny that flashing LCDs, joysticks, toggles and smartphone interactivity add some level of distraction, but in the effort to push the envelope, we’re obviously fans of figuring out safer ways to install additional functionality — even if it asks for a bit more responsibility from the driver.

That’s the question, isn’t it? Commenters here on MotoringFile are often quick to point out with each new feature of Connected that it seems the last thing drivers need is one more distraction. What’s interesting from my perspective is what Engadget was able to shed some light on what is and isn’t being included in MINI Connected.

…there’s a near-equal amount of push versus pull when it comes to fielding app inclusion requests. “There are a number of companies begging us to include their apps on Connected, but being on the Product team, I’m always looking at programs already on the market that would make sense to integrate into a vehicle,” he said. While he stopped short of confessing the entire list of probables, he did acknowledge that Yelp is already in testing. Not surprisingly, MINI recognizes that points of interest only provide so much value; it’s the real-time reviews and social connections to venues, eateries and attractions that make the information truly useful to motorists.

I’m curious what MF readers think of this assessment. There’s no shortage of opinion of MINI Connected, but let’s open up this particular question. Think outside the box. What info would be of the most use? What entertainment is currently lacking. And to clarify, if you just don’t like the system or don’t see the point of it, we’ve heard all that before. How should MINI move forward with the system?

Meanwhile, check out the whole article over at Engadget.