1/8/13: A flurry of new deals from CES will make Net radio more accessible in the car

Paul Maloney
January 8, 2013 - 12:10pm

The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) runs today through Friday in Las Vegas, and we already have a torrent of announcements to report regarding in-car Internet radio.

The first is Ford Motor Company has named jacAPPS, the mobile app development division of radio consulting firm Jacobs Media, a "recommended mobile app development house" for its new Ford Developer Program. This means jacAPPS will develop, as well as work with other third-party developers, to create voice-activated smartphone apps for radio to work with Ford's SYNC AppLink.

The AppLink allows a driver to control digital apps from the steering wheel or using radio buttons. And while the audio entertainment available in such systems so far has been dominated by newer, digital services or apps that aggregate content, the new partnership "will allow AM/FM stations to have parity on the vehicle’s digital screen," says jacAPPS.

"Individual radio stations no longer have to be concerned about their place on the dashboards of 'connected cars' based on jacAPPS experience," read the jacAPPS announcement. "Beginning today, owners of Ford SYNC AppLink enabled vehicles will be able to access local radio station apps thanks to jacAPPS’ extensive experience working in radio to create mobile apps providing streaming capability and on-demand content services."

The company named broadcaster Greater Media its radio partner for the announcement. Sixteen of its station apps are now available with SYNC AppLink functionality.

Paul Maloney
January 8, 2013 - 12:10pm

There's more from this week's CES in Las Vegas involving in-car Internet radio access. Leading webcaster Pandora announced its app has been integrated into Chrysler's new "Uconnect Access via Mobile" system for in-car listening. The automaker is now Pandora's 20th automotive brand partner in the U.S. Add to that seven aftermarket manufacturers that now offer in-dash Pandora access.

"In addition to over 175 aftermarket devices, there are now more than 85 different car models that include Pandora with more scheduled to become available throughout 2013," Pandora announced. Perhaps even more impressive: the service is now accessible via more than 1,000 non-PC devices (including cars, automotive aftermarket devices, and consumer electronic devices).

Chrysler also added "Uconnect" access to webcaster Slacker Radio, web content aggregator for mobile Aha, and Clear Channel's digital platform iHeartRadio.

(Clear Channel concurrently announced iHeartRadio will also expand their auto integrations to select 2014 GM infotainment systems. The app is already available in Ford, Toyota and Lexus models.) 

Clear Channel also unveiled "iHeartAuto," a new made-for-driving radio app to allow seamless and satandardized access to the iHeartRadio, with support for select aftermarket auto entertainment products. For the launch it partnered with Clarion Smart Access cloud server products, Pioneer’s AppRadio platform of products, and a Kenwood connected receiver. The new app includes a new developer protocol that gives device manufacturers a standardized way to connect to iHeartRadio.

The image is from MotorTrend. You can read their coverage here.

Paul Maloney
January 8, 2013 - 12:10pm

More from the world of in-car Internet radio that's been announced at this week's CES... Harman's Aha Radio service (see today's story on Chrysler Uconnect) connects drivers with web-based entertainment and information via its Cloud Platform in a radio-like format.

As the result of some newly-announced deals, by the end of the year, Harman says "Aha will be installed into vehicles by more than 10 auto manufacturers which in total represent more than 50% of all cars sold in the USA/Canada and up to 30% in Europe."

Those new deals: In addition to joining Chrysler's new Uconnect system, this week Aha announced its app was added by Ford to its SYNC Applink platform, by Porsche for its Online Services system, and by Subaru in its brand new STARLINK connectivity system. Additionally, Alpine Electronics will become Aha's third major aftermarket partner with new in-dash units. Kenwood is launching 12 cloud-connected head units featuring Aha, with more to follow throughout 2013. Pioneer was the first company to ship an Aha-enabled product back in 2011.

Aha Radio makes more than 30-thousand stations of audio programming available to customers, including new media partners AccuRadio, Deezer, Rdio, and SomaFM. Aha listeners can also tune in to content from OK!, Men's Fitness, Popular Science, Parenting, Shape, Star, TV Guide, Men's Health and more. (That image is from Car and Driver.)

Paul Maloney
January 8, 2013 - 12:10pm

Yet even more deals announced at CES this week to bring Internet radio to cars!

Chevrolet has added web radio tuning service TuneIn to its MyLink system to bring the app to MyLink-equipped Chevy Sonics and Sparks. The automaker demo'd the new feature at CES.

And we've mentioned Ford and its SYNC Applink system a few times today. The automaker announced it's adding streaming music service Rhapsody to more than a million Ford and Lincoln vehicles, via SYNC. This is Rhapsody's first full integration with an automaker. Last month (and thus, not related to CES), Spotify announced it would connect with fellow Swedish company Volvo for in-dash operability.

Finally, Livio demonstrated its new technology, called FM Connect, designed to allow in-car FM radio listeners to safely interact with FM broadcasters and sponsors from the dashboard via a Bluetooth-connected smartphone. Livio is reportedly exiting the car radio kit market.