Volkswagen is taking a kitchen sink approach to in-car infotainment technology for its new vehicles. All 2016 VWs will include both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay so customers can have a solid experience regardless of their smartphone brand.
“With the new MIB II infotainment platform, Volkswagen’s next generation of Car-Net connected services brings to market one of the most comprehensive suites of connectivity features ever available in an automobile,” said Volkswagen of America president and CEO Michael Horn. “As the people car brand, we knew that it was important to democratize these technologies across the Volkswagen line-up, with features like App-Connect ensuring that more consumers can integrate their smart devices in a wide range of trims on virtually every model the company sells.”
The decision to let both Apple and Google into Volkswagens makes sense: in one move, Volkswagen has removed much of the responsibility for developing infotainment technology and ensured that its customers have platforms geared towards their phones. Volkswagen plans to offer four head units with the new modular infotainment platforms (MIBs) IIs to match different car styles. All of the MIB II’ss will include touchscreens.
The entry-level MIB head has a 5-inch touch-sensitive display with a resolution of 400 x 240. It has Aux-In and USB port, as well as an SD card slot and Bluetooth connectivity. The next step up, known as the Composition Media unit, has a 6.3-inch screen and can sync two phones simultaneously, along with a host of extra features that includes a second SD card slot, SiriusXM Radio and HD Radio, among others. Some MIB heads in this range will have some slick GPS navigation features, like the ability to predict your destination based on your history, and a feature that lets announce your destination to your GPS.
The VW Golf line will get some extra features for its MIB heads. The 2016 e-Golf SEL Premium’s MIB head will have an 8-inch display and 10GB of Jukebox music storage, as well as a DVD drive.
Volkswagen says it has organized the features of its Car-Net service by three categories: App-Connect, Guide & Inform and Security & Service. The service includes Automatic Crash Notification and other emergency features. Subscriptions start $17.99 per month, but the first six months are free for new vehicles.
Interestingly, Car-Net, which already features apps for Android and iOS smartphones, will soon be compatible with the Apple Watch. Features will include the ability to remotely lock or unlock your car. The new MIB IIs will also include support MirrorLink for HTC, LG, Samsung and Sony smartphone owners.