BMW is further enhancing its ConnectedDrive infotainment system with the latest slew of updates focused on improving the level of online-based in-car services. The German automaker plans to do this by fitting many of its vehicles with their own built-in SIM cards starting from this year.

This will provide owners with the freedom to pick and choose services, including those not currently using a smartphone or other mobile device. In fact, they will even be able to create their own user profile in a ‘My BMW ConnectedDrive’ customer portal service.

Over the course of 2013, the ConnectedDrive portfolio will be extended to a further 14 markets in addition to the 11 where it is already available. The objective is to have around five million BMWs linked in a network via the ConnectedDrive infotainment system by 2017.

This means that all owners of BMWs in the network will be able to receive the latest updates and services directly through their cars. A current example of this is a new emergency call system with automatic vehicle location and accident severity detection BMW will be rolling out. U.S. compatibility will be announced closer to launch.

Once registered, users will be able to log in to a password-protected area, where they will be able to configure their car’s infotainment system and download whatever apps they prefer. Yes, there will even be an online BMW ConnectedDrive Store.

Once users have logged in to the BMW ConnectedDrive Store, they are presented with an overview of their vehicles, any booked options and remaining services that can be booked. Alongside this can be seen the costs for the services, as well as the total and remaining running periods. Another summary shows a complete list of the services that are available at additional cost.

As access is assured throughout the vehicle’s life, subsequent owners are also able to install networked services or adapt them to their personal requirements, so that used BMW vehicles continue to be fully compatible.

So what kind of services and apps are we looking at? One of the most comprehensive is the BMW Connected app for smartphones, which includes functions such as web radio, Wiki Local, Facebook, calendar, plus several more. Then there are the third-party apps such as Pandora, MOG, Aupeo, Stitcher, Baidu Music, Douban FM, Snippy, Deezer, Napster, Rhapsody, TuneIn Radio, Audible and Glympse.

BMWs fitted with a SIM card and the updated ConnectedDrive system will be rolled out across European markets initially, starting from this summer. Availability in the U.S. is yet to be announced.


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