BMW ConnectedDrive reads e-mail via Bluetooth

BMW ConnectedDrive reads e-mail via Bluetooth

Up until now, Ford's Sync system was about the only game in town that would interface with your phone and actually read messages from them.

Now, BMW, among several other automakers, is poised to offer the feature through its BMW ConnectedDrive system.

The new system will enable contact lists, call logs, text messages, calendar entries, memos, and of course access to incoming e-mail. And you'll have the option to enable a text-to-speech engine that will read your messages out loud.

But as with Sync, the system will only work with one (or a few) handsets. BMW says that the BlackBerry Pearl 3G is the first of RIM's line to support the new feature.

There are several other systems that approach that level of connectivity. Kia's UVO (also Microsoft-based), will have this sort of capability, and it's expected to be rolled out with a more advanced version of the Johnson Controls system that Mitsubishi is using in its system called FUSE.

Research In Motion (NYSE:RIMM), the maker of BlackBerry devices, has announced that it will in future products use the new MAP (Message Access Profile) Bluetooth protocol, a new communications profile that standardizes the way messages are accessed and shared.

Although BMW doesn't go into the technical details of how its system will grab text from e-mails, it's likely the result of that initiative; Ford has said that its own Sync system will adopt full BlackBerry connectivity as well this year. With the interface, drivers will be able to retrieve messages for display on screen, and with a single press of a button, the text will be read over the sound system.

The new system will be offered in both Europe and North American 2011 models, as equipped with the nav system and mobile phone prep, beginning this fall.