MINI reveals a round OLED display with a retro theme


A homage to gramophones and CDs?

Didn’t they always have a round display? No, they didn’t. What they had was a housing that was circular, but the display itself inside was a wide rectangle. Take a look at the Mini Cooper SE Convertible, for example. And so, the upcoming Mini electric models will have an actual round display—an OLED one called the Mini Interaction Unit—billed as the first circular OLED display in the automotive industry.

The circular display has a 240 mm diameter (about 9.5-inches horizontally), and is powered by what is called the Mini Operating System 9 software—based for the first time—on an Android Open Source Project (AOSP) software stack. And, as you can see, the color of the ambient lighting changes as per the content in the aforementioned display. And, speaking of content, the driver gets to play with 8 modes that control the content and ambiance accordingly. Standard spec includes Core, Green and Go-Kart modes, but can be optionally expanded to 8 modes.

The first one is the Core mode, or, as the name suggests, the default mode. The next one is the Go-Kart mode which swathes the interior with Anthracite and Red color shades. And do remember that these modes are not necessarily just for the display but for the entire car itself. Which is why the throttle response is optimized for dynamic driving in this mode, plus, there’ll also be a Go-Kart driving sound to enhance the sporty driving experience.

The Green mode, well, as the name suggests, makes the ambiance green, plus it’ll also display some animal animations. The throttle response in this mode is optimized for efficiency. The Balance mode apparently offers a more calming and understated experience; the driving sound is based on the noises heard in a forest at different times of the day and night—from the rippling of a stream and the chirping of crickets to the rustling of the wind in the treetops.

Then you have the Timeless mode—which should be fairly self-explanatory. This retro UI features a serif typeface and a large speedo. Here in this mode, you also get sounds from an Internal Combustion Engine, because, you know, that’s what timeless is also supposed to mean, right? The Vivid mode focuses on the presentation of the media content; the colors are derived from the album art. The Personal mode lets you use your own pictures for the background. And finally, the Trail mode offers an adventure theme, plus, displaying a virtual compass and vehicle inclination data.


And, you gotta offer some gaming experience too, right? I mean, you gotta take maximum advantage of that OLED display. Using your smartphone as a controller and via the AirConsole App, you can play some games—not while driving, of course. Games you can play include Go-Kart Go, Golazo, Music Guess and Overcooked. Just to remind, the new 5 Series we saw not too long ago, offers a similar experience.

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