My BMW Remote app now available for Android-based smartphones

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 10, 2011

If yesterday, BMW offered solutions for the integration of Apple smartphones, today everything changed as the Bavarian manufacturer announced that it will also offer apps for the smartphones based on the Android operating system. The first application to be offered is the Android version of the My BMW Remote app, which controls the same remote functions as its iPhone counterpart.

This means that using your Android-based smartphone, you will be able to open and close the car, but also the use the Climate Control function to access the car's climate control system and activate its auxiliary ventilation or heating.

Moreover, you will be able to use the Flash Light or Horn Blow, two functions that will help you to find your car in a crowded parking. For those who will get the Bmw ActiveE, the company will also offer the e-mobility-specific remote functions such as battery charging from outside the car.

While the BMW Group currently offers integration solutions for Apple smartphones, it has plans to allow Android-powered devices to use the BMW and MINI apps. The start of the journey to this goal has already been marked by the Android version of the My BMW Remote app, which allows drivers to remotely open and close the car. In addition, this app also allows drivers to access the vehicle’s climate control system through the Climate Control function, thereby activating its auxiliary ventilation or heating.

Drivers could also easily locate – visually or audibly -- their cars by using the Flash Light or Horn Blow functions. However, this feature is available only in selected markets. Moreover, if it is not possible to locate the car visually or audibly, drivers could employ the Vehicle Finder function to find their car within a radius of up to 1,500 meters, with a map guiding them to their vehicles. The app also includes Google Local Search, which can be used to send relevant Points of Interest (POIs) to the car's navigation system. BMW will soon offer for Androd-powered smartphones the BMW ActiveE’s e-mobility-specific remote functions, like battery charging.

Soon to be offered is an upgrade for the My BMW Remote app that will include the Real-Time Traffic Information (RTTI) function. Android is considered the fastest-growing software platform for smartphones and tablets today. Since it is an open-source software, Android can be adapted to be used on a variety of devices from different makes. BMW Group developers have to take into account a number of factors during development process like the different resolutions, technical requirements and characteristics of the different Android devices.

Because of its wide-ranging differences, the testing phase for apps for Android-powered smartphones is more extensive and requires more time than when testing apps for the iPhone. Moreover, there is a need to ensure that graphics is adapted appropriately. It is of note that Android requires differing demands on the operating architecture user interface, which has to be adapted to the look and feel of Android smartphones. Thus, the design of the Android user interface is partly the result of feedback from existing My BMW Remote app users.

Press Release

My BMW Remote app goes Android

The BMW Group doesn't only offer solutions for the integration of Apple smartphones; in the future, smartphones based on the Android operating system should also be able to use the BMW and MINI apps. The first step along this road is the Android version of the My BMW Remote app, which controls the same remote functions as its iPhone counterpart. In addition to opening and closing the car, the driver can also use the Climate Control function to access the car's climate control system and activate its auxiliary ventilation or heating. Added to which, the driver can use the Flash Light or Horn Blow functions to gain a visible or audible reminder of their car's location (not available in all markets). If the car is out of sight and earshot, it can still be located by the Vehicle Finder function within a radius of up to 1,500 metres. A map then guides the driver to the car. Google Local Search rounds off the portfolio of functions. Here, customers can use the Google search function or the smartphone's address book to send relevant Points of Interest (POIs) to the car's navigation system. The e-mobility-specific remote functions of the BMW ActiveE, such as battery charging from outside the car, will also be available for Android phones, as will the upgrade for the My BMW Remote app – slated for introduction in autumn 2011 – which adds the Real-Time Traffic Information (RTTI) function.

Android is currently the fastest-growing software platform for smartphones and tablets. As open-source software, it can be adapted to and used on a wide range of devices from different manufacturers. It is here that the challenge lies for the BMW Group developers. Different resolutions, not to mention the technical requirements and particular characteristics of the different devices, have to be taken into account in the development process. And that means the testing phase for Android phones is far more extensive and time-consuming than for apps for the iPhone, which only comes in two variants. Adapting the graphics as required is also a complex business. Android places different demands on the user interface and operating architecture. To this end, the user interface has to be adapted to the look and feel of Android phones, without making too many changes to the familiar and well thought-out appearance of the app. Here, the design of the Android user interface has already incorporated feedback from existing My BMW Remote app users and allows it to integrate new functions even more easily.

Topics: bmw, app

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