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RAIN 4/19: Pandora-friendly MyFord Touch dashboard system coming this summer

Posted on: 04/19/2010


At the New York Auto Show, Ford announced that their updated Sync system and new MyFord Touch user interface will be available this summer in the 2011 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX. Ford’s new Sync system will include support for smartphone apps like Pandora, allowing users to control music playback through their car’s dashboard and voice commands.

The MyFord Touch interface coming in the Edge and MKX includes “an 8-inch color touchscreen in the dash, dual 4.2-inch color LCD displays flanking the speedometer, and two five-way rocker switches on the steering wheel, all to control entertainment, navigation and climatecontrol systems,” according to Twice.com (here). The system also offers navigation, hands-free calling and HD radio features, along with the ability to share a cellular data connection through Wi-Fi.

A simpler Sync interface can already be found in the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, which CNet tried out at the Detroit 2010 Auto Show (see video). Editor-at-Large Brian Cooley shows off the Pandora integration, switching stations through voice commands and dashboard controls as you would with AM/FM radio.

Users can even rate songs (thumbs up or down) and bookmark tracks from the dash. “Mark my words, this is history being made,” Cooley says. “I can now go through a variety of streaming functions that you’d normally fiddle with the smartphone and drive off the road doing, instead, they’re now brought up into the vehicle’s interface.”

Again, this system works by utilizing a smartphone’s data connection. The car dashboard plays streaming radio and controls the phone application through Bluetooth. “This is really an interface extension technology,” explains Cooley. That’s great for people who already own a Motroloa Droid for instance (as Cooley does), but rules out non-smartphone users from enjoying Net radio.


RadioTime has launched an application for smartphones running Google’s Android operating system. The app, available for $2.99, tunes in to over 30,000 AM/FM and Internet-only stations. RadioTime states that their app is the first to support the Windows Media streaming format on Android. Users can search for stations or use their phone’s GPS to automatically find stations in their area.

“We drew 45 million listening sessions in March, our most-ever, and that growth has been driven in large part by users increasingly accessing the RadioTime guide via a number of third-party apps for the iPhone and Blackberry that are powered by RadioTime,” said RadioTime founder and CEO Bill Moore. Read more about RadioTime’s new app in their press release here.


Looking for some undiscovered and unheralded streaming radio apps? KnowYourMobile.com and Radio Survivor have you covered, highlighting their favorite streaming options for the iPad and Facebook. KnowYourMobile.com lists Wunder Radio and AccuRadio, apps we’ve covered in the past (here and here, respectively), but also some unfamiliar names: Planet Radio (“just rock music, 24/7, from an era when musicians were musicians and amps went up to eleven”), Action Radio (pictured left, which offers over 10,000 Shoutcast Radio stations with cover flow and artist videos) and Tuner2 HiFi Radio (“a collection of ‘hand picked’ quality internet radio stations” with excellent sound quality). You can look through the full list here.

Meanwhile, Helen Yamamoto of Radio Survivor takes a look at some streaming radio applications available for Facebook. Yamamoto’s favorite application was InternetDJ Radio which focuses on electronic underground music. Other discoveries include Streema and O3-LIVE. Overall though, Yamamoto was surprised by both the limited number of streaming radio applications, and how few Facebook users were using such apps. For instance, InternetDJ Radio has only 36 monthly followers and Last.fm’s Facebook application page “failed to break 500” users, Yamamoto reports. Find Radio Survivor’s full list here.


Maris Taylor of The Wall Street Journal recently reviewed the Grace Digital Audio Allegro Wi-Fi Radio, a portable tabletop radio capable of streaming Pandora, Live365, Sirius, not to mention over 17,000 stations via Reciva. The device is small and battery-powered, stirring up for Taylor “grand visions of toting it to every park in Manhattan to pick up the free wireless signal and perhaps stirring up radio dance parties.”

Taylor found sound quality to be excellent, but was disappointed by the lack of a handle (“no hoisting your Wi-Fi enabled boom box on your shoulder for a music-fueled promenade”), and the difficulty of inputting information like a Wi-Fi password. Overall though, Taylor thinks the radio is worth it: “consider me an Internet radio convert.” The Allegro Wi-Fi Radio costs $170, though can be found for less. You can read The Wall Street Journal’s full review of the device here.

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