BMW will provide a digital key service starting in July, targeting BMW owners with Samsung smartphones. This move is garnering much attention as Samsung Electronics and BMW have been cooperating with each other for more than 10 years.
BMW recently announced that it will provide the digital key service that can lock and unlock its cars with a smartphone. The service, which will start in July, can only be used by users of Samsung smartphones with NFC (near field communication) functions. With BMW Connected Application, you can lock and unlock doors of your BMW cars and even start them with your smartphones. Up to five Samsung smartphones can be used for one BMW car.
BMW said additional software updates will increase the range of smartphones for this service to smartphones of other manufacturers. Unattended self parking is also expected to be included in the service. The German carmaker is also planning to release an 'eSIM' card that connects a smartphone and a BMW car, and add a function to receive calls directly from a BMW car when a smartphone is not working.
The industry said that BMW chose Samsung smartphones as the first smartphones for its digital key application because of its long-standing partnership with the Korean smartphone giant. "We will maintain cooperation with Samsung for a long time," said Harald Krüger is the CEO and chairman of the board of management for BMW who visited Korea in early 2016.
In 2005, BMW unveiled its iDrive, a car audio and video (AV) system that links the Samsung Music Phone to new 5-Series cars. In 2014, Samsung Electronics and BMW introduced a service to check various information of an automobile and control an indoor environment with the Galaxy Gear, a wearable device.
BMW also sells eco-friendly cars such as the electric car i3 loaded with Samsung SDI batteries. The automaker also introduced a system that connects homes and cars by applying 'SmartThings', an IOT service of Samsung Electronics to the i3. The BMW Driving Center on Yeongjong Island, Incheon has Samsung's smart signage (advertisement display).
On top of that, cooperation between BMW and Harman acquired by Samsung Electronics earlier last year, is expected to further strengthen cooperation on future cars between the two companies. Harman is already supplying audio systems to major models such as the BMW 5 Series.