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BMW i augments Remote App via smartwatch

January 14, 2014


German automaker BMW announced that it is extending its BMW i Remote Application to the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch Jan. 10 at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The Galaxy Gear synchronizes with an owner's smartphone to display essential functions in a more accessible manner. The Remote App provides drivers with accurate assessments of their BMW i3's status and allows for communication between the two.

"There is no more hyped category than wearables," said Jeff Hasen, Seattle-based chief marketing officer of Mobivity. "And that was before last week's CES where the noise got louder.

"Smartwatches are certainly not yet mainstream," he said, "One has to question whether mobile users have enough connectivity and will view more on their wrists as unnecessary."

Mr. Hasen is not affiliated with BMW, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

BMW did not respond by press deadline.


BMW unveiled a prototype at the International CES show. For the time being, the app will be limited to the Samsung Galaxy Gear.

The Remote App lets owners view the battery condition and charge level, service messages and where their vehicle is located.

BMW i Remote App

Warning messages and pending service appointments are also exhibited.

Drivers can activate the climate control of the battery before traveling through the app to ensure performance is optimized. Charge timers help ensure that the vehicle is in optimal shape for each drive.

The app also enables route planning, such as mapping out a journey and locating charging stations.

Drivers can observe the performance levels of previous trips to see how much energy was regenerated while braking. Driving tutorials and statistics also empower users to hone their driving skills in the future.

BMW i Remote App

Additionally, drivers can anonymously compare data amongst each other for learning purposes.

New shape

As the BMW i series hits the roads in Europe and elsewhere, the brand’s DNA will likely undergo an evolution that could result in its sustainable vehicles supplanting more traditional models as the quintessential BMW line.

Since its debut in Europe Nov. 16, the BMW i3 will open up electric vehicles to a broader audience, but it is the i8 model that will be a more formidable nemesis of Tesla. The i series will make its debut in the United States, Japan, China and South Korea in 2014, which will provide a more definitive glimpse into the future of the brand as consumers embrace or dismiss the line (see story).

Other luxury brands are diverting consumer attention to wearable devices.

For instance, Luxury specialty retailer Barneys New York will collaborate with Opening Ceremony, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Intel on wearable technology pieces.

To launch the project, Opening Ceremony will design a smart bracelet that will be sold exclusively at Barneys, making the retailer one of the first luxury store chains to carry this type of item, a mix between tech device and fashion accessory. With this collaboration, which was also announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show, Barneys will be able to set itself apart and show that it is current and understands what the modern consumer wants (see story).

Many outsiders still have doubts that the usefulness of wearable devices will justify their purchase.

"Marketing via smartwatch isn't on the top 50 things I would do," Mr. Hasen said.

Final take
Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York