Is this just something early adopters have to deal with?
In early February, Hyundai announced that its Bluelink+ connected services will be standard on all new cars going forward, but there might be a problem with the related MyHyundai with Bluelink app. The South Korean manufacturer recently sent out a mailer to its customers, explaining that some of the latest Bluelink app features and security updates require Android 12 and above.
Users with OS 11 and 10 will still have access to the app, but with feature limitations.
The mailer explains how the phone's operating system can be updated, but a reader sent us a mail pointing out a flaw. He owns a 2022 Kona Electric and uses the Bluelink app for remote locking, keyless entry, and charge monitoring. His phone is under three years old but can't support Android 12.
According to our reader, the only solution is to buy a new phone, which is precisely what Hyundai's response was. We contacted the manufacturer about this and will update the article when get a response.
We know Hyundai sent out information about the MyHyundai with Bluelink app when it announced the new Bluelink+ feature. According to the press material, the app is essentially split in two. MY17 to MY23 models will use the Bluelink Legacy app, while the new Ioniq 6 and upcoming MY24 models will have access to what's known as Bluelink+.
The Legacy's features are split into three groups: Connected Care, Guidance, and Remote. According to what Hyundai sent out, the Legacy app should still allow access to several features, including those mentioned above. You can check the features in the image below for a complete list of what the different versions are capable of.
According to Statcounter, which shares information regarding OS updates globally, OS 12 is the version most people use, with a 22.22% share. OS 11 is not far behind with 21.71% of people still using it, trailed by OS 13 at 17.65%. The latest version (13) was made available in August 2022.
Unfortunately, these charts only provide us with market share and not the reasons why people don't update. It could be that people don't want to buy new phones, or simply haven't updated yet. We all know how alluring that "ignore" option is. The stats also show that 17.17% of people still use OS 10, which nearly matches OS 13.
What we have here is another piece of technology rendered obsolete by a fast-moving tech industry. The 3G service discontinuation left several high-end cars without access to connected features and even impacted EV charging across the US. On the plus side, 5G opened the door to several new features for cars.
One could argue that it's simply a side effect of being an early adopter and that the price of a new phone is insignificant compared to the cost of the Kona EV, which had a base price of $33,550 at the time of writing.
But having the latest is a costly undertaking. Samsung's brand-new S23 costs $800, more or less a sixth of the average US citizen's monthly income. And as more features are unlocked for vehicles, there's no guarantee the S23 will be good enough two years from now.
"Frankly, I am ready to abandon the Hyundai brand over this," our reader stated. "As cars move toward more advanced software integration and key features like remote start and charge monitoring are made dependent on phone apps, I have to be able to trust that those features will be available for the life of the vehicle. Unfortunately, Hyundai just proved that they cannot be trusted."
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