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BMW adds Internet radio to new and recent cars

BMW adds Internet radio to new and recent cars

The New York auto show isn’t just about cars. As proof, BMW announced a new suite of apps that will be compatible with iDrive, bringing Internet radio to new and recent models.

Using an iPhone 3GS through iPhone 5 (with at least iOS 5), BMW drivers will now be able to access content from Audible, Pandora, MOG radio, Stitcher, Rhapsody, TuneIn, and Glympse, by plugging the iPhone into a dock connector available for all new BMW models or by plugging the device into the car via USB.

You have to select the individual app within the phone before plugging it into the car, and then it shows up on the iDrive screen. Using the iDrive controller, you can then select content, skip forward or back 30 seconds, and speed up or slow down playback. BMW is the first automaker to offer an integrated connection to Audible audio books in the car.

In addition downloading BMW Apps to your phone allows you to connect to Facebook, Twitter, Calendar, local news and reviews, and use BMW’s EcoPro driving analyzer. Making iDrive even more distracting, Facebook and Twitter will show three lines of content on the screen while driving, and more when the car is stopped. BMW Apps, however, is not necessary to use the audio services.

Access to BMW apps comes standard on the 5, 6, and 7 Series, and on the X5 and X6. It’s a $650 option available on most other BMWs.

The best news is that the system is backwards compatible, so owners of most older BMWs with iDrive can upgrade their system to work with the new apps. The apps connect to the Internet using your cell-phone service, so be sure you have enough data capacity before you use them.

See our complete New York auto show coverage, plus highlights at CRCars.tumblr.com.

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