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RAIN 1/10: Take a 'test drive' of new in-car Net radio systems from Toyota, Mini

Posted on: 01/10/2011

WESTERGREN, ENGADGET TAKE PANDORA-EQUIPPED MINI FOR A SPIN

At CES in Las Vegas, Engadget took a “test drive,” if you will, of the new in-car Internet radio systems from Toyota and Mini.

The latter was previewed by none other than Pandora founder Tim Westergren, who literally took Engadget for a spin in a new Mini Cooper to demo Pandora’s integration with Mini dashboards (check out the embedded video).

The experience appeared seamless, with Westergren controlling playback via a joystick placed nicely in a similar location as a manual transmission gear stick. Mini’s system accesses the Internet via a connected smartphone, but as Westergren pointed out, Mini doesn’t want the driver to ever have to touch his or her smartphone while driving. Calls are routed through the dashboard. You can find Engadget‘s coverage here and previous RAIN coverage here.

Toyota’s Entune system (RAIN coverage here) isn’t quite ready for a spin around the CES parking lot. But Engadget was still allowed to play around with a sample head unit, previewing iHeartRadio’s app but not Pandora’s (due to problematic network issues). Entune also connects the web via a smartphone. Find Engadget‘s video coverage here.

SLACKER ANNOUNCES iPAD APP WITHLEAN-IN” FEATURES

Slacker has announced it will soon release an iPad version of its mobile app. Like other Net radio iPad apps, Slacker’s will include features like artist bios and album reviews to make its iPad app a “lean-in” experience worthy of the iPad’s large screen.

The iPad app will also support Slacker’s new on-demand music service when it launches later this month (RAIN coverage here). Mashable has more coverage here.

APPLE’S iTUNES NOW 10 YEARS OLD

Here’s your fun fact for the day: Apple’s iTunes media application turned 10 years old on Sunday. It launched on January 9, 2001…nine months before the first iPod. iPodNN.com has more coverage here, including a video of Steve Jobs debuting iTunes way back at the turn of the 21st century.

CHUMBY BUSTS OUT NEW 8” MODEL

Chumby —everybody’s favorite beanbag-coated, widget-wielding, Net radio-streaming device (RAIN coverage here) — unveiled a new model at CES 2011. Sporting an 8-inch touchscreen and no beanbag in sight, it’s probably the most attractive Chumby device to date. It offers plenty of web radio widgets, two USB ports and a headphone jack. No word yet on availability or pricing. CNet has more coverage and a video preview right here.



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