BMW’s defines its ConnectedDrive as “the innovative connection between you, your BMW and the rest of the world.” That’s a more poetic way of saying that ConnectedDrive blends apps, navigation, smartphone integration, infotainment and telematics to create an improved driving environment.

Antony Ingram recently covered BMW's improvements to it ConnectedDrive, including its BMW Navigation System Professional.To supplement this released data, BMW has released a series of videos covering the highlights of several improved ConnectedDrive functions.

BMW Navigation Professional

Routes are now rendered in 3D, complete with graphic representation of buildings for a more realistic navigation experience. The entire interface was redesigned to be more visually appealing, too.

Message Dictation

This function now allows drivers to compose short emails or texts via voice recognition. The feature can be used to reply to urgent messages while driving, while a voice memo function can record an audio file and send it via email.

Smartphone App Developer Kit

Smartphone apps from third-party developers can now be more easily integrated into ConnectedDrive, courtesy of  BMW’s available Software Development Kit. By making this readily available to developers, BMW hopes to expand the population of available in-car apps to meet every need.

iDrive Controller

Even BMW’s iDrive controller has been improved for better functionality. The top of the iDrive knob is now touch sensitive, and can be used to expand or contract maps as well as “finger write” letters.

Instead of scrolling through the alphabet to find an address in the city of Zurich, drivers can now proceed to the letter “Z” by writing it with their finger atop the iDrive controller. The system will launch in China first (thanks to its character-heavy language), followed by a worldwide rollout (including BMW, MINI and Rolls Royce vehicles) in 2013.

As infotainment expectations get more complex, the daunting task facing automakers is how to simplify commands to minimize distraction. While BMW may be a leader in this area, it’s certainly not the only automaker pursuing better driver-vehicle interfaces.