The new model of BMW's flagship 7 Series sedan is getting support for controlling the Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Pandora apps on Android phones, making it possible to use the services through the car's user interface — no fiddling with the phone required. BMW has supported similar functionality on iOS for several years, but the Android integration is new.
This new capability isn't Android Auto, though. BMW has pledged support for both Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay in future vehicles — but in the meantime, it's using integration points between specific apps and the car's dashboard, similar to Ford's AppLink system. An open-source version of AppLink called SmartDeviceLink was recently adopted by Toyota, suggesting that there's still a lot of hunger among major automakers for controlling the UIs of their dashboards more tightly than the systems from Apple and Google allow.
Users will need to download the BMW Connected app from Google Play, pair their phone with their car, then select the integration through the car's user interface. It's just in the 7 Series to start, but BMW says that it'll come to other vehicles in the company's lineup (and sister brand Mini's lineup) "at a later date."