Mini becomes the unofficial iCar

Mini announces new iPhone integration technology for the Countryman.

Mini Cooper Countryman
The new Countryman will be the first model to feature Mini Connected iPhone integration. Mini

At next week's Geneva auto show, Mini will demonstrate what it calls industry-first iPhone integration with the car.

The technology, called Mini Connected, relies on a USB connection between iPhone and car to take advantage of the phone's data connection. Mini's announcement of the new technology mentions two applications, Web radio and a service called Mission Control.

With a connected iPhone, drivers using the Web radio function get access to thousands of Internet radio stations from around the world. However, Mini does not specify if Web radio is an application living on the iPhone or if it is a module in the car that takes advantage of the iPhone's data connection.

Mission Control is a service previously launched in the 50 Camden edition of the Mini Cooper, which "evaluates a vast range of vehicle information, driving situations and vehicle environment-related signals to supply the driver with relevant commentary and instructions," according to Mini. With a connected iPhone, Mission Control will use the data connection to bring in external data, such as the weather, and provide the driver with more extensive information.

Mini Connected will first be made available in the new Countryman, a small SUV coming out from Mini.

The system uses a display in the center of the speedometer, with an elliptical main menu for choosing cabin tech functions. A joystick on the console lets the driver make selections.

Ford announced similar smartphone integration for Sync at this year's CES, showing an interface for iPhone applications such as Pandora and Openbeak in the car.

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.


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