I’ve posted before on MINI Connected in general. The app does a lot of fun things in-car if you have a new MINI with the correct extras attached. However, what if you don’t have such a car or the right extras in your MINI?
As the app is designed to complement the setup in the car with further web- and location-based services, the iPhone-only interface is by design not as comprehensive as the functionality when connected in the car. However, my favourite update in this latest version 1.3.3 is that the webradio function now receives an iPhone UI (it used to work only on the display in the MINI), so that you can use the app to listen to webradio anywhere - jogging in the park, at the gym, or driving your car - regardless of which manufacturer.
I use webradio all the time when driving. I simply plug a normal 3.5mm audio cable from the iPhone’s earphone port into the Aux-In in my BMW. I don’t need any other extras in the car to support the app.
You can do this too! Anyone can download the apps, for free - you don’t need to be a BMW or MINI owner. And webradio now works in any car with audio in, or even without a car! Obviously, when running the app in a non-supporting car, you need to operate it via the iPhone UI - nothing comes up on the display in the car. So only use it when safe to do so.
But in-car support is coming to BMW too in March 2011. You can even download the BMW version of the app already. It has a similar interface to that of MINI Connected, with a BMW skin. And you can start listening to webradio today regardless of the manufacturer of your car.
- Variety built in: one app for all stations, instead of downloading various apps per station. Take advantage of radiotime.com’s massive webradio database from within one app
- Quality: in my experience, the mass of webradio apps I have collected from various stations has had widely varying levels of quality. Some apps crash all the time, or keep losing connection, some others have bad interfaces. Many stations get an app developed by an external company, and over time it develops bugs which don’t get fixed. MINI Connected and BMW Connected have a development team concentrated on the stability of one single app
- Price: you can pay over €5 for other webradio apps. MINI Connected and BMW Connected are free
- Design: the UI is clean and slick, and very intuitive to use