That will enable you to talk to Alexa, taking advantage of natural language processing, offering the familiar experience that you get from the Amazon Echo. You'll be able to get Alexa to access all the normal Alexa skills, control devices in your home as well as get things like weather or update your reminders.
To activate Alexa you'll have to press the voice button on your steering wheel and say "Alexa" and making it a lot easier to control things like music when you're on the road - as well as all those other benefits that Alexa brings. BMW also says that you'll get visual feedback in the display.
What Alexa won't do is control elements of the car - so you can't ask Alexa to open the windows or change the driving mode for example, you're not actually voice-controlling the car.
Amazon has long been looking to integrate Alexa natively into cars - having offered the service via third-party accessories and smartphone apps previously. The announcement that it's now on BMW and Mini makes it available to a lot more people, but there are some hoops to jump through.
It uses online processing, so you'll need to be connected all the time. You also have to have your smartphone connected to the car all the time and you need to be a Connected Voice Services subscriber - that might incur a fee, it might be something that was included when you bought your car, so you'll probably have to do some research to see if you can easily get it on your car.
You also have to be running the BMW or Mini Connected apps - and it appears that it's only supported by Apple devices (we're checking some of the finer details) as generally speaking support for Android on BMW and Mini is limited.
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Of course you have to have a compatible car too - and that list includes:
- 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 Series 2018 (Nov)+
- i3 Series 2018 (Nov)+
- i8 Series 2018 (Nov)+
- X1, X2, X3, X4, X6 Series 2018 (Nov)+
- Mini Clubman 2018 (Nov)+
- Mini Convertible 2018 (Nov)+
- Mini Countryman 2018 (Nov)+
- Mini Hatch 2018 (Nov)+
- Mini John Cooper Works 2018 (Nov)+
We're trying to find out some of the finer details on how it works and what you have to do to get it working - and of course we'll try and get a car and put it to the test to give you a closer insight into the experience.