BMW to launch ConnectedDrive store, buy car upgrades while you drive

BMW is set to bring new functionality to its ConnectedDrive in-car entertainment systems in 2013. The technology will allow drivers to purchase upgrades for their cars while driving.

Called the ConnectedDrive Store, it will act as a means for you to tailor your navigation and entertainment needs, both from within your car and on the desktop. Services range from things like live traffic information, concierge or even internet connectivity. 

In future, BMW's fitted with iDrive will ship with built-in SIM cards and be available with a stripped-back set of entertainment options. The screen and iDrive will come as standard in the majority of cars, with users being able to take advantage of the ConnectedDrive Store to customise iDrive's functionality to exactly what they want.

The result should be an overall saving on media and entertainment options for BMW cars. Naturally, if you just want to tick every box, then you can simply buy everything from the ConnectedDrive store. Some offer lifetime membership, others are based on a monthly or yearly model.

Buying a used BMW with the new system fitted should also mean you are able to tweak it to exactly how you want, rather than being stuck with the options selected by the previous owner. BMW even says that in future anything you buy through the ConnectedDrive store could be transferred to the next BMW you own.

The idea is that all BMWs stay up to date with the latest technology, whether they are used or new. It should introduce a level of standardisation between the basic functionality of all BMW cars and could be the beginning of a totally new approach to in-car technology.

BMW also spoke about the possibility of introducing downloadable content for its M cars, although nothing has been confirmed. The idea would be that you can purchase and install suspension and car set-ups for your M3 or M5 for example, based on the set-up of professional drivers.

Amazingly, BMW is promising to front the cost of ConnectedDrive via its own SIM cards. There will be no charges for roaming, so you can use the systems anywhere you like across Europe. At the moment it is based around 3G, but BMW does plan on introducing an LTE version of the technology once it becomes more standardised.

Those who do pick up a new BMW in 2013 and benefit from the new ConnectedDrive store should also find they have a special bespoke webpage created just for their vehicle. On this page you should see a picture of your car, in the correct colour, along with all the ConnectedDrive tech you have purchased. You can use the new web page to buy new functions for your car remotely and find them installed once you return to it.

The presence of a SIM in every car will also mean that BMW is able to push any kind of update it likes to a vehicle. It should ensure that, a bit like a smartphone, every car is kept up to date by the manufacturer.

The ConnectedDrive Store is an exciting development in BMW's already pretty complete in-car navigation and entertainment set-up. For some, it could mean big money saved when they buy a new vehicle, yet with the same basic level of technology available to those who have purchase a much more expensive model.

Pocket-lint has reached out to BMW for full pricing and launch dates for the new ConnectedDrive technology and will be posting the moment we receive them.



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