No regulatory agency has clear authority over mobile use in cars

Friday, April 27, 2012 - 11:30am

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulators say it's not clear which agency has the authority to regulate how drivers use mobile devices in the car.

The NHTSA can regulate "vehicle equipment," that is, that which directly controls a feature of the car. The FCC regulates mobile devices as to their use of frequencies for voice and data.

But this regulatory "doughnut hole," writes The Wall Street Journal, "reflects how much faster technology changes than the stately progress of federal rulemaking." NHTSA administrator David Strickland tells the paper, "We have more research to do."

Read The Wall Street Journal here.

Aha's web radio service coming to Acura dashboards

Monday, April 9, 2012 - 11:40am

Aha's iPhone appHarman's Aha web radio service will be integrated into the 2013 Acura RLX, the companies recently announced. Aha offers a directory of Internet radio stations (including Slacker), as well as podcasts, social media newsfeeds and other on-demand infotainment content (more here).

Acura drivers will need to connect a smartphone to their dashboard through Bluetooth to use Aha. The service is also coming to Subaru and Honda dashboards, as well as through aftermarket Pioneer and Kenwood head units.

Aha GM and Vice President Robert Acker will discuss in-car web radio at RAIN Summit West, which takes place in less than a week. He'll join Sandhi Kozsuch of Cox, Carl Rohling of TuneIn, Jake Sigal of Livio Radio, Dan Steiny of Live365 and moderator Sam Milkman of knowDigital on "The Connected Dashboard" panel. Find out more here. has more coverage on Aha's deal with Acura here.

Majority of young car-buyers want web connectivity, smartphone apps in their cars, reports WSJ

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 11:00am

In-car web radio"In the not-too-distant future, a car with a radio that receives only AM or FM will qualify as an antique." So writes the Wall Street Journal in a new column highlighting Internet radio's growing in-car appeal.

Already nearly 60% of car buyers age 19-31 think web connectivity is the most important aspect of a car's interior, according to a Deloitte LLP survey. And 72% want to use their smartphone apps in cars.

Twenty three automakers now have deals with Pandora, WSJ reports. Some manufacturers like Audi are even experimenting with connecting to web radio directly from the car dashboard -- no smartphone needed.

Car makers are also opening offices in Silicon Valley ("to get plugged in to the rapidly shifting online-services market"). Meanwhile, cellular providers "have struggled to expand their network data capacity fast enough to keep pace with demand."

You can find the Wall Street Journal's full article here.

Chicago Tribune: Cars without CD players will become the norm in coming years

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 11:15am

Pandora in a GM carThis year's CES was flooded with devices and developments for connecting cars to the Internet -- especially Internet radio (find our coverage here). Now Automotive News (and picked up by the Chicago Tribune) reports that new technology is already replacing CD players in cars, and will do so at a greater pace in the next few years.

More than 330,000 cars will be sold without CD players in 2012, according to an analyst for research company Stratacom. He expects that number to grow to 12.1 million by 2018.

"Shedding the CD player is part of a larger trend in automotive infotainment," writes Automotive News. "Content and computing power are migrating to smartphones." The publication points to Pandora and similar webcasters as potential winners of such a trend.

You can find Automotive News' article here. The Chicago Tribune also picked up the story, which you can find here.

CEO says satellite radio service will offer Pandora-like feature by year's end

Monday, January 9, 2012 - 9:00am

SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin has reportedly indicated that SiriusXM will launch its own Pandora-style personalized streaming audio service, likely within the coming year, according to RBR. Karmazin spoke at the Citi Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference in San Francisco last week.

Karmazin spoke of adding personalization as part of the Sirius 2.0 features at least as early as November of 2010 (see RAIN coverage here). By summer, CNet reported the personalizable service would be available in some cars by 2013 (more here).

"I can assure you that if our subscribers would like to have personalization we’re going to give it to them," Karmazin told conference attendees, as reported by RBR. "So, you should assume, you know, that the idea of personalization is something that Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio and Slacker and all of these companies are doing. There is satellite radio and it will expand and make that personalization available, probably this year. I don’t think it’s a big deal. We’re not going into it as a business. We, again, like our business model. But we’re going into it saying, you know what, if our subscribers like that feature and they want to be able to customize content, we’re going to give them the ability to do that."

Read RBR's coverage here.

RAIN: Radio And Internet Newsletter is brought to you by: Kurt Hanson, Executive Editor; Paul Maloney, Senior Editor; Michael Schmitt, Associate Editor; Jim Pavilack, Contributing Writer; Jennifer Lane, RAIN Summits President.

Record-number of automakers to exhibit at CES

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 - 11:35am

CESThe Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2012 will host a record number of exhibits from automakers, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Six of the the top 10 car makers will be present.

CEA CEO Gary Shapiro says the conference will also feature aftermarket in-car innovations like "tablet integration, Internet radio solutions, in-vehicle apps" and more.

Satellite Radio Playground has more coverage here.

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