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BMW adds Android Auto after cozying up to Apple CarPlay

Not just Android Auto, but wireless Android Auto.

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BMW is embracing all of the mobile tech these days.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow
This story is part of CES, where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets of the entirely virtual CES 2021.

Just last week, BMW gave the people what they wanted and made Apple CarPlay a free service for all of its new vehicles. On Wednesday, the German luxury marque said it's going a step further and bringing Android users along for the ride.

Android Auto will be available for all BMW vehicles running Operating System 7.0 come July 2020. But wait, there's more. This won't be wired Android Auto, but one of the first applications of wireless Android Auto. The smartphone mirroring tech sans cord debuted years ago, but automakers have been slow to add the feature.

Ford also announced this past October that its Sync 4 infotainment system will support wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. BMW has always supported Apple CarPlay minus the cord, but previously it had charged a fee to use it, a practice Roadshow's Editor at Large Tim Stevens called "next-level gouging." No, wireless Android Auto will not have fees, either.

The luxury brand didn't skimp out on implementing Android Auto, either. BMW said the system will be fully integrated with its cars' Digital Cockpits where relevant information will be displayed on the infotainment screen, gauge screen and even the head-up display.

It's worth noting that not every phone running Android will automatically work with wireless Android Auto. Google's published list of smartphones that will work include its own Pixel line of phones and its older Nexus 5X or 6P, as well as the Samsung Note and Galaxy lines. Android 8.0 or higher is required for Pixel and Nexus phones; Android 9.0 or higher is the requirement for the Samsungs.

BMW plans to show wireless Android Auto running in its vehicles at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. After that, patience will be required, BMW owners, until July.

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