This is a landmark year for automotive at CES with the announcement of the Open Automotive Alliance, but it’s founding members aren’t the only ones getting in on the action. Samsung and BMW have teamed up with a CES showcase to illustrate how their Galaxy Gear – Samsung’s smartwatch – can connect to the BMW i3 electric car to improve driver experience.
BMW touts the i3 as “the world’s first fully connected electrically-powered car” and it includes an integrated SIM. By connecting the Galaxy Gear to the car, drivers or passengers can quickly access important information about the vehicle such as remaining gas and how many miles can be driven, whether windows are up or down, doors are open or closed or locked or unlocked, and a whole lot more.
It doesn’t stop at reporting data from the car; users can also send commands to the car, both through tap commands on their Galaxy Gear and through voice commands using the latest Samsung S Voice features.
One handy feature is initiating the horn on your car. Maybe you’ve returned from a trip or shopping excursion and can’t remember where you’ve parked your car. Simply tell your BMW to make some noise through your Galaxy Gear and it will alert you to its location. Pretty handy!
I’m a bit torn between the practicality for a few reasons, but the usefulness of this combination will depend on if you are or are not a smartwatch type of person. Sure, you could access the exact same information on your phone, but the Galaxy Gear is already on your wrist and (I would think) much less of a distraction. Not to mention, you don’t have to unlock the Galaxy Gear to interact with the BMW i3 app (as you might have to on your phone).
You can even go so far as to change the temperature of your car in anticipation of driving it, never having to freeze while waiting for your heat to get going or sit smoldering on black leather while you wait for the car to cool down. Have your Gear and i3 fix this in advance!
Expect to see a lot more solutions that have smartphone, wearable tech, and automotive working in harmony to create synergistic experiences in the coming few years. And be warned, they’ll probably come with even more buzz words than the previous sentence.
Would a connected car be at the top of your check list when deciding to purchase your next vehicle?