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RAIN 1/4: Toyota debuts in-dash Net radio system

Posted on: 01/04/2011

ENTUNEOFFERS DASHBOARD CONTROL OF PANDORA, iHEARTRADIO

Toyota has launched a “major initiative” at CES in Las Vegas to promote Entune — a new web-connected dashboard system that streams Pandora and iHeartRadio via a connected smartphone. Drivers can control playback through voice commands, on-dash buttons and what appears to be a touch-screen interface.

Toyota hinted it would integrate with iHeartRadio and other Net radio services back in November 2010, as RAIN reported here. Entune should arrive in select Toyota models later this year, the company stated. Engadget has more coverage here.

If you’re keeping score at home, this means Toyota joins Ford, GM, Mercedes, BMW and Mini in offering in-car Internet radio systems (not to mention the plethora of third-party devices). Expect that list to grow before the end of CES.

NEW COLEMAN STUDY FOCUSES ON HOW COUNTRY FANS USE DIGITAL MEDIA

Coleman Insights will present the findings of a new study at CRS 2011 on how country radio listeners use digital media. The study covers “awareness, interest in and usage of digital media, including social media, smartphones, texting, streaming audio and video, and radio station and artist websites,” Coleman explained.

Coleman VPs Chris Ackerman and Sam Milkman will deliver the presentation on Thursday, March 3. You can find out more in Coleman’s press release (PDF) here.

FORD: SYNC NOW IN 3 MILLION CARS

Ford has installed its voice-controlled (and growingly web-connected) in-dash Sync system in 3 million cars. Apparently, 80% of purchases of current 2011 Ford models include Sync. That includes the 2011 Ford Fiesta, which sports hands-free control of Pandora streams. Ford has stated it will update all Sync systems with Pandora compatibility (RAIN coverage here).

So this doesn’t mean that 3 million Ford vehicles are out there streaming Net radio. But it indicates that the Sync platform is popular among folks buying new cars — good news for webcasters hoping to stream to Ford dashboards. Engadget has more coverage here.

PANDORA COO DEPARTS FOR ONLIVEINSTANT GAMING

Pandora’s COO Etienne Handman has left the Internet radio service to join OnLive — a video game company that offers on-demand cloud-based games (more info here). AllAccess has more coverage here.

ROSEN RADIO SPORTS iHEARTRADIO, SIRIUS XM

Rosen Entertainment has announced it’s bringing iHeartRadio compatibility to its car radio devices. The radio will connect to the Internet via a smartphone, but drivers can control iHeartRadio playback on the Rosen radio screen. The radio also includes Sirius XM satellite radio, navigation and long list of other features. Satellite Radio Playground has more coverage here.



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