BMW Gets a Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch App
It's the latest automaker to interface with wearable tech.
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The line between wearable and drivable tech continues to blur at CES 2014, as BMW has unveiled an app for a Samsung smartwatch.
Today, BMW announced that its i3 electric car will feature a special app for the Samsung Galaxy Gear. Already, i3 drivers could check how much battery life they have left or send navigation directions to their cars from a smartphone using the BMW iRemote App.
Now, the iRemote App-equipped Galaxy Gear lets i3 drivers check vital vehicle functions—like remaining range—at a glance, without taking out a phone or opening an app. Tap on the Galaxy Gear's touch display and you'll get access to a sub-menu for turning on the heat or AC, or checking if windows are open or closed.
Though it's interesting, the BMW Galaxy Gear app isn't the first wearable tech collaboration we've seen from automakers at CES this year.
Mercedes-Benz unveiled a similar partnership with smartwatch maker Pebble, which lets vehicle owners find where they parked and see how much fuel they have left. On the road, it'll vibrate to tell drivers when there is traffic or a hazard ahead. Buttons on the watch can be customized to activate Siri, control audio, or set a navigation destination.
Also at CES, Hyundai announced that the 2015 Genesis will let drivers unlock doors, plan routes, and even start the car using Google Glass. If their car needs service, drivers wearing Google Glass will see a notification pop up on their wearable device, and they'll be given the option to schedule a visit to a dealership.
BMW, Mercedes and Hyundai's announcements come on the heels of the Nissan Nismo Watch, a performance-oriented smartwatch that debuted at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show. It lets drivers access vehicle stats like top speed, offers alerts about bad weather, and even monitors the driver's heart rate.
Considering that wearable tech and luxury cars—let alone electric cars—aren't exactly mainstream purchases, we don't expect to see too many BMW i3 owners turning up their AC from their wrists. But the partnerships between device manufacturers and automakers speak to a more integrated future of man and machine.