Roadshow Video Reviews
BMW in-car InternetBMW is the first car company to offer Web browsing as a factory option. Brian Cooley shows us how Connected iDrive works.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:03 >> Remember back in the nineties when the web was exploding. We used the laugh one day, you'll even have a web connection in your car -- you do from BMW. Check out the screen. There's the wide screen BMW display. We've seen that before but not with this on it. That's not iDrive. That's something entirely new. Let's bring up the main menu. Now, there's four tabs of BMW's services. We've got one here that is all about your relationship with BMW. I can drop down here to BMW Germany. Go on their site. Look at the latest about BMWs. I'm a big BMW fan. Go to the other one over here. Here's some aggregated services, news, a number of very well-known publications -- be different for every market. Next tab over is Leisure. Again populated here and put together in a way that make sense for the traveler and of all of these optimized for the in-car display, that takes some work. Now it is the Internet, so it's not perfect for use in-car. You really missed the mouse. This is okay for getting around, but you know, they're gonna keep optimizing to make this a little more usable for the iDrive Controller, but it's not bad. I gotta tell you. The last tab is the most interesting. There is my Internet and that is wide open web access. That's where things are very fascinating. Go to any site you like. Here's one I'm pretty fond of. And I can go to the URL tab here, URL. I go to the address bar here and I'm just rotating, clicking, putting in my URL and then drop down to dot com, hit that. There is CNET. Check this out, beyond showing just the HTML. Let's go to a video over there on the right. Let's see what Brian Tong's up to these days. Loads up and there's Flash video playing on the dash in great quality. Now, to point out a couple of things here, this is the next version of a service that isn't even out yet. This is running a very high speed quasi UMTS connection. It will launch with 3G, which will be slower than this. They're still smoothing up a good part of the interface. So it will be a little easier to use we suspect than it is now, but it's not bad right now and there's going to be a flat fee through BMW to get your service. No screwing around with your own data plan. BMW will do it for, they say, twelve to twenty Euros, so what -- up to about thirty dollars a month on an annualized basis for an all-you-can eat data plan that also includes some other very car-shaped services they do with Google. Let me show you those next. Now here is the BMW online service already out in several countries in Western Europe, very much tied into Google. It's a Google Local, but ported to the car. Now, check this out. If I wanna go do a local search, here's the city that I'm starting from, it says. Enter my search term. What am I looking for - well I'm in Geneva, I want pizza. That makes no sense, but why not? Let's challenge the system. And again I'm using a keyboard here, but you'd have an iDrive interface or something like that for this. Here's my Google Local search list. Notice, it's giving us a version of what you'd see on your computer -- that's behind here. This is how they re-ported that for the in-car interface because it's so different in the car. Now if I drop down to the pizza place I want to go to here in Geneva, there are my results and it's pretty common stuff: Address, phone, evaluation -- that's user rating, some details. Down here I can zoom in even further on the localized part of the map and really dial in where it is in town. So, I've got a lot of the functionality of Google Local, but completely reshaped to use in the car without limited hands-on interface. All of this is coming together as BMW moves forward as the first car company to embrace factory optional Internet connectivity, whether it's packaged like this or wide open as is coming on the Internet that we've just saw. Now more than just an option from BMW, this is a bigger story, this is the direction in-car connectivity is going to go, where it can become a unified platform for navigation, communication, entertainment, emergency services and Telematics, of course. This is the future. ^M00:04:17 [ Music ]