Various automakers, led by Mercedes-Benz with their mbrace technology, have been entering the mobile application market for a long time now. At Hardin DD we’ve been fortunate enough to do app development for Mercedes, Toyota, and Saleen, among others. As both an application developer and a massive car nut, I’ve followed the evolution of these automotive apps with great interest, and it’s been somewhat weird to see how slow the automakers have been to release Android apps, given how rapidly they jumped into the iPhone (and even Blackberry, in Mercedes’ case) market. BMW recently explained why they’ve taken until now to release Android software, quoted in an Autoblog article as:
So what took BMW so long to adopt Android, the world’s fastest growing mobile OS? In the release after the jump, BMW – like nearly every app developer on the planet – blames the massive amount of fragmentation of both screen sizes and Android versions out in the world, meaning testing and development took much longer than for the iPhone version.
Automakers typically follow extremely rigorous quality control standards, and while companies in other industries are often content to release Android apps with some testing and the hope that they will work on all hardware, BMW was forced to test their app on literally every available piece of Android hardware available in the North American market. It will be interesting to see in the future, as more and more Android variants (such as Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Honeycomb, among others) along with an every increasing deluge of hardware options become available, if major corporations’ Android development efforts start to lag behind their iOS developments as they have in the case of BMW.