Officially BMW announced that the future iDrive interface will feature Google internet services.
In actuality, the Bavarian automaker has also been teasing us with information about its partnership with Google since the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show, but only recently announced final details of a production implementation.
After enrolling in the BMW Assist Convenience Plan (available at an additional cost of $199 per year), the system will use AT&T’s GSM network to connect to Google Search to look up business information such as the names of restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, and public facilities such as schools or city halls. Once found, the driver will be able to navigate to the point of interest or call the business using the system’s Bluetooth connectivity. Users will be able to, for example, search for the lowest gas prices in the area or find out what movie is playing at the nearest cinema and display search results on a Google Map.
Essentially what BMW is offering is in-car internet access using a wireless connection and drivers and passengers will also be able to browse the web from the dashboard, albeit at EDGE speeds.
The BMW Assist service will continue to offer its core functions such as remote unlock, automatic collision notification, and location of stolen vehicles. The system will be available on 2009 model year BMW models, as an option on 1 and 3 Series models (except for the X3, which gets no Google love) and standard on 5, 6, and 7 Series models.