RAIN 2/24: New Mercedes in-dash system integrates webcaster AUPEO! and iPhone's Siri

Michael Schmitt
February 24, 2012 - 11:00am

Mercedes' A-Class dashboard systemMercedes and Acura have unveiled new in-car entertainment systems that include web radio integration.

Mercedes-Benz's entertainment system for their A-Class (pictured) includes dashboard support for AUPEO! radio (like Pandora for Europe, more here and here). The platform can also be controlled using an iPhone's Siri system. Other highlights include "an iPad-like floating display screen."

Meanwhile, Acura has announced the 2013 RDX's entertainment system will include Pandora integration. Acura will also offer, as an add-on, a 60GB hard drive built-in to the RDX.

Both manufacturer's systems require a connected smartphone, and -- as both include Bluetooth audio support -- should be able to play just about any web radio service.

CNet has more coverage on the Mercedes A-Class here and Motor Trend has more on Acura here.

Paul Maloney
February 24, 2012 - 11:00am

NPR's new executive structure, designed as "a unified and strategic approach... in radio and in digital and in the Web — and in all the mobile applications where NPR finds its content," includes naming Kinsey Wilson EVP/Chief Content Officer.

NPR President and CEO Gary Knell announced Kinsey's promotion today (those are his words quoted above), along with naming Margaret Low Smith SVP/News on a permanent basis. Wilson (pictured), as GM of NPR Digital Media, was the RAIN Summit West keynote speaker in 2010 (announced here).

"Radio is not going away, radio is going everywhere," said Knell, who replaced Vivian Schiller as NPR CEO in December, following her March 2011 departure.

Read more here.

Paul Maloney
February 24, 2012 - 11:00am

"I’m specifically not talking here about video," self-christened Radio Futurologist James Cridland blogs. "I’m talking about things that allow audiences to engage when they want to, and discover more about what they’re listening to."

Cridland's long promoted the idea that digital media allows for a "visual radio" experience. But in his recent blog post, he contrasts his thinking against that of a video/television approach. "Stuff that enhances a radio broadcast – stuff that can be completely automatable, and stuff that reflects what’s on that radio station," he explains. "It’s not television."

What Cridland's after is more along the lines of Capital FM on the Radioplayer (here). "Static slides appear containing news, travel information, now-playing stuff, weather, pictures of the DJs, and more glanceable information," writes Cridland. Another example, BBC Radio 1's homepage (here)."As you listen, more information appears to let you learn more about what you’re hearing. Images of songs, tweets and Facebook messages from the audience, promotion of other things on the station, and links to video and more. Once more, it’s glanceable information that allows more interaction when you’ve the time to do so."

Read Cridland's blog here.

Michael Schmitt
February 24, 2012 - 11:00am

SpotifyOn-demand web music service Spotify will soon offer gapless playback and crossfading to desktop listeners.

As many readers probably know, the gapless feature removes the silence from in-between songs, while crossfading "allows one song to fade out as another is brought in." Such options are offered in other desktop music applications like iTunes, but are not commonly seen offered by streaming services.

The new features will be included in Spotify's latest upgrade of its desktop application. Billboard has more coverage here.