With consumers becoming increasingly tech savvy, BMW has announced plans to introduce a drastically updated infotainment system.
Starting with the system itself, it is powered by a 1.3 GHz processor with a dedicated 3D graphics chip for "top-quality animations and dynamic transitions." It is controlled by a new iDrive knob which has a touch-sensitive pad that measures 45mm across. The pad will eventually have handwriting recognition technology, but not at launch.
As for the navigation system, it benefits from improved address entering and better route guidance. There's also enhanced Real Time Traffic Information and a "3D City Models" mode which offers a "realistic depiction of surrounding streets and buildings to help drivers get their bearings."
For bosses on the go, the Mobile Office portfolio has been expanded so that two telephones can be connected to the vehicle simultaneously. There's also an improved calendar display with better navigation and syncing.
On the music side, the system has new playback options and an improved search function with the ability to select favorites, build custom playlists and view similar songs. Additionally, when the radio is playing, the display now shows the artist, album and CD cover on the display.
For the internet addicted, the LTE car hotspot promises to deliver data speeds up to 150 Mbit/s. It can also be removed and used outside the vehicle, but only for up to 30 minutes.
Moving on, the infotainment system also benefits from a message dictation function which can be used to write and send text messages or e-mails. At launch, the system will have speech recognition capabilities for six languages.
On the app front, BMW will expand the number of third-party apps that can be used with the system. From July 2013, Android-based devices will also be able to benefit from application-based integration.