RadioTime, developer of technology for finding and listening to radio online, announced BMW’s MINI has integrated the RadioTime web radio service into its MINI Connected option. BMW will unveil it this week at the Geneva Motor Show.
Until now, accessing Internet radio in a car meant patching a smartphone into the car’s existing audio system and fiddling with the phone’s controls. The MINI Connected option enables drivers to plug their iPhones into a USB port and use the car’s controls and displays (its audio and infotainment system) – much easier and safer while driving.
Here’s a demo: http://inside.radiotime.com/bmw
The MINI Connected option makes MINI the first car manufacturer in the world to offer this function in a regular production car.
“Drivers love radio because it’s free and requires no registration or setup, but accessing Internet radio used to require patching a smartphone into a car’s existing sound system, and fiddling with a smartphone’s controls,” said Bill Moore, CEO, RadioTime. “Now, instead of looking at your smartphone screen, you can use the dash display and MINI Joystick to tune to web radio. Radio has always been an integral part of our cars, and we’re opening up the world of music, news, talk, sports and entertainment that only web radio can offer.”
RBR-TVBR asked Moore: What other (or how many other) carmakers they you in discussions with for this functionality? Will BMW roll this out too?
He said, “We are working with other major automotive companies in Europe, Asia, and North America, and we expect to be able to provide more details by this summer.”
RadioTime provides an easy means of finding local, national, or global radio programming airing on stations in 140 countries and broadcasting in 55 different languages.
RBR-TVBR observation: Looks like MINI leap-frogged the IP-Connected car rollout, which has been slow to market. The Autonet Internet service is being installed on some lines (anyone can also get it aftermarket). Chrysler (“U-Connect”) and Ford (Sync) are rolling out Internet-equipped factory models, albeit slowly, because of the added expense –and added monthly fee. But this move just screams/streams, “We decided not to wait for this expensive option, whenever it will be rolled out. We’ll just let users plug in their smartphones and and voila! — an internet car radio.” This may be an easier option for other automakers as well — for now. And companies like RadioTime and IHeartRadio are well-positioned for it.