Following Tesla’s lead, most auto manufacturers have started using significantly larger dash-mounted screens in recent years. Newer cars even have integrations like CarPlay and Android Auto, letting you use your phone’s apps on your vehicle’s dashboard. While this has most automakers debating between portrait and landscape layouts, BMW went in a completely different direction on its latest Mini Cooper models.
The new Mini Cooper family is taking a leap forward with a circular OLED display that incorporates Mini Operating System 9 and a variety of other features (via Motor1).
The new display is the first of its size to feature OLED technology and will be used in all new Mini models. According to BMW, the Mini Operating System 9 is based on AOSP and should allow for updates to the vehicle’s in-dash experience. In true Android OEM skin style, other new features include the Hey Mini voice assistant, the Mini Connected Store, and Mini Experience Modes.
The circular screen acts as both a cool interface and a dashboard, showing miles per hour, fuel usage, and everything you’d expect in front of the steering wheel. Based on a tweet from Sawyer Merritt, there’s still a “heads up display” style transparent speedometer projected onto the windshield for glanceable reading. There is no word on if this will also have other important gauges.
Additionally, the vehicle can be connected to 5G, which provides access to the Mini Connected Store, where different applications are available, including AirConsole games, video streaming apps, and Spotify. However, if you connect your phone through Bluetooth, Android Auto, CarPlay, or USB, you can use apps and features on the screen.
While the screens do run Android and the car does support Android Auto, it’s not clear if BMW is using Google’s car-specific Android Automotive platform here. The company has only said Mini OS 9 is an “in-house development” and is based on Android’s open-source code.