Yesterday, we saw Toyota's take on twinning smartphone and car to provide an enhanced in-car infotainment experience. By synchronizing your phone and car, you could use your phone's intuitive display in a larger format on a central dashboard screen.

BMW and MINI are going about a similar concept in a slightly different way. By using a smartphone app-based concept the entertainment and information features available in your car will be effectively future-proofed and constantly updatable as they improve.

The concept launched with MINI Connected in 2010, allowing users to link their iPhone via USB to the car and uses the app as a central interface for your MINI's infotainent systems. The same concept appeared in BMWs earlier this year as BMW Connected.

The idea has been so popular that it has now expanded worldwide, with new research AppCenters in Shanghai and Mountain View, California.

These locations will continue to develop the concept to develop apps suitable for every country, with the Shanghai office in particular looking at a whole new range to suit the Asian market. The Mountain View office is close to Silicon Valley that allows it to collaborate with the best the tech world has to offer, as well as exciting new start-ups.

BMW is also encouraging apps from third-party developers to cover the areas of expertise not handled by BMW itself, giving BMW and MINI drivers every possible function they could need when behind the wheel.

Previous in-car infotainment systems have meant that even as cars develop, entertainment and information systems quickly fall behind the market standard. App-based in car entertainment and information is no longer something of the future, it's available right now, and it's helping keep cars right up to date with the best software on the market.