Taking the concept of the mobile office a step further, BMW is including BlackBerry smartphone integration with its vehicles starting in September with its 2011 BMW models.
Using Bluetooth, many smartphones can already sync contacts, photos, music, and offer voice activated functionality and text-to-voice capability for text messages while driving. However, in addition to the usual smartphone feature list, BMW's ConnectedDrive gives its vehicles the capability to read out loud incoming e-mail messages from compatible BlackBerry smartphones.
Using the iDrive control interface that's on models equipped with Assist, Bluetooth, and onboard navigation, occupants of a BMW can select e-mails they want the system to narrate from a Bluetooth connected phone. Currently the new BlackBerry Pearl 3G is the only RIM device that supports this functionality, but BMW plans to support more phone models.
Interestingly, a YouTube video clip of BMW demoing this technology clearly shows an iPhone being synced with the test car:
While e-mail is the final frontier of smartphone integration in vehicles, it's still not possible to respond to them in the car, nor has BMW planned to add that functionality any time soon. That's fine by me since the driver in the demo video looks fairly distracted trying to listen to his e-mails.