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Google is finally (mostly) un-fucking BMW's stupid fucked up Android Auto strategy

Illustration for article titled Google is finally (mostly) un-fucking BMWs stupid fucked up Android Auto strategy
Photo: 9to5Google (Fair Use)

As we speak, BMW is in the process of rolling out Android Auto to all of its cars running iDrive 7, and new cars rolling off the line with iDrive 7 now have Android Auto built in. But, BMW in its infinite “wisdom” made its Apple CarPlay and Android Auto solution wireless-only. This is ok for CarPlay, but up til now has been a major headache for Android Auto, because only a very limited number of phones have supported wireless Android Auto.

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Having these smartphone-mirroring capabilities be wireless only is a bad idea, because the wireless connections aren’t super reliable, and having a USB cable as a backup to make sure the connection just works is good. But BMW, even though its cars have plentiful USB ports, can’t be bothered to make those USB ports work with CarPlay or Android Auto.

Basically every iPhone with iOS 9 (which came out in 2015) or higher can do wireless CarPlay. But only certain Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy phones could do wireless Android Auto. Which meant that even if you had a brand new BMW with its fresh, way-overdue Android Auto capability, and a brand new Android phone from any other Android phone manufacturer, you still had no ability to use Android Auto in your BMW.

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BUT, as part of the upcoming Android 11 release, all phones with Android 11 and 5 GHz wifi will work on Android Auto (with some restrictions in the EU but not here in FREEDOMLANDIAMURRICA).

So basically, without BMW having to do any additional work, Google went ahead and made a feature somewhat universal on all Android phones that Apple has been universally supporting since 2015. At least once those Android phones’ various manufacturers eventually update them to Android 11.

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