Several weeks ago we gave you an early look at MINI’s all new digital experience and MINI OS9. It’s revolutionary for the brand and, with its circular OLED display, a first for the industry. But how there’s surprising powering it all behind the scenes; Android. But this isn’t Android Auto. It’s something different and in many ways much more important.

mini digital experience

One of MINI’s biggest problems (and the industry as a whole) is technology inside of cars rapidly becoming dated in comparison to smartphones and other devices. The answer isn’t as easy and simply allowing for over the air updates as some carmakers have found out. Often the tech is cars is based on platforms and coding languages that’s either hard to create for or is simply obscure. Then there’s the problem of automakers not understanding (or willing) to plan and execute like a software company.

What MINI (and BMW) has set out to do with this new experience is to future proof it by using one of the most widely known platforms in the world. One that has millions of developers and apps ready to go. This coupled with 5G powered over the air updates and a renewed focus on software development seemingly sets MINI’s 4th generation of cars well.

mini digital experience

That future-proofing starts with Android Open Source Project (AOSP) software stack which does several things for MINI. For one it allows MINI to leverage the massive scale of the Google Play App store which MINI will create their own subset of. But more importantly it allows MINI to leverage the army of Android engineers worldwide meaning that the platform MINI will rely on for future innovation is open and easy to create apps for. But don’t mistake the software stack as influencing the user experience. That’s 100% MINI’s own thinking and execution which is built on top of this invisible but powerful platform.

We are presenting our all-new MINI family with a unique technology package. It is based on the latest tech stack from BMW and brings a very specific MINI flavor to signature brand-defining functions such as the Experience Modes and the voice assistant. The result is a display of cutting- edge digital fireworks with a sharp eye for detail. 

Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development

We’ll reiterate – it’s important to remember we’re not talking about Android Auto here. That is what is known as projection software. AOSP is the the open source layer MINI’s system is built on. Android Auto and CarPlay will continue to run on top of it as projection layers should owners prefer that experience.

MINI is keenly aware that most consumers have never heard of AOSP. They want an infotainment system that is intuitive, has the services they need and allows them to use CarPlay and Android Auto. This new MINI OS 9 not only allow that but does so with experience design that is uniquely MINI’s. 

mini digital experience

Wireless CarPlay And Android Auto 

One of the reasons AOSP is so interesting for automakers is that it allows them to still run wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – both will be standard on the new MINI OS9. Both will work inside of the circular screen as a 4×3 rectangle allowing for the critical drive and climate functionally to be present and functional. That means we’ll see a slightly different layout from CarPlay putting the “dock” at the bottom. However it’s MINI’s hope that it’s new navigation and other apps lessen the appear of these projection offerings.

Which MINIs Will Get This New Experience?

The new MINI Digital Experience and MINI OS9 will be available across the entire new MINI family; the J01 MINI electric, U25 MINI Countryman (electric & ICE), J05 MINI Aceman (electric) and likely on the heavily refreshed ICE MINI Cooper (F66).

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