HARMAN Buys Aha Mobile To Keep You Informed AND Safe While On The Road

​Audio and infotainment group Harman International Industries (aka HARMAN) has picked up Aha Mobile, a Palo Alto-based provider of on-demand mobile and location-based Internet content services, the company announcedthis morning.

The terms are not being disclosed, but the startup is merely 2 years old and just raised $3 millionfrom Venrock in May 2009, so we’re assuming this is a good exit for the fledgling company and its sole investor.

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Top Travel Apps 2010

​So you can stay hands-free on the road, Aha Radio reads you the latest GPS-enhanced traffic reports on a pre-entered, customized route, using Clear Channel sources and updates from other drivers. The app also announces news, Facebook and Twitter posts, and points of interest along the way.

Cost: Free.

Runs On: iPhone/iPod Touch.

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The 9 Most Useful Mobile Apps for the Road

​There are lots of traffic apps on the market -- some for mobile phones, others for portable and in-dash telematics systems -- but the free Aha Radio (formerly known as Aha Mobile) offers far more than most. Not only do users get traffic data and navigation assistance, but also full access to their stored music and a wide selection of special stations to enjoy, including NPR, CNET, ESPN, and our personal fave, Grammar Girl. Added bonus: the Caraoke feature is full-on brilliant.

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Caraoke, for When the Shower is Too Far Away

​Rather than having providers stream music into cars through apps, car stereos and in-dash entertainment systems, which I write about in this weekend’s Automobiles section, Aha Mobile’s iPhone app bundles several driver-oriented services together. There’s local traffic (via Inrix), which sounds like a homily of nearby congestion and accident warnings. There are prerecorded podcasts from stations like Fox News Radio and NPR. There are comedy clips, and there’s even an application that will read your Facebook friends’ postings aloud. But what makes this software truly notable is one of the most peculiar car-oriented programs I’ve ever heard and one of the best examples of what an Internet-connected car radio can do.

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Listen to Facebook and Twitter with Aha Radio

Aha Mobile was a finalist in the 2010 Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator at the SXSW conference last week. With so many new social media services cropping up left and right, we tend to look past many of them in frustration. Aha Radio, however, is one I can definitely get excited about.

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Aha Radio app streams news, traffic, Facebook, and more

​iPhones can be great driving companions--unless you routinely tweet, text, or otherwise fiddle with the device while behind the wheel. That's a surefire way to get yourself--and possibly others--killed.

Aha Radio for iPhone helps you keep your eyes on the road. The app provides a dashboard-friendly, oversize interface for everything from podcasts and local traffic to Facebook and iPod playlists.

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Aha iPhone App Converts Your Apps To ‘Car Friendly’

​If you’re part of the iPhone crowd, heck even the smartphone crowd then you’ve been caught behind the wheel of your car trying to fumble through your apps to score the latest updates from friends on Facebook, find directions to the nearest Chipotle or stream a podcast.  The only problem is that this kind of activity can be dangerous and cause an accident.

Enter Aha radio.  It’s a free application that brings all these apps, and many more, into one application and converts them to a driving friendly format.  

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Aha Radio: Traffic, News and Social Media, Out Loud

​Mobile applications are often blamed when behind-the-wheel multitaskers put fellow drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians at risk, but some apps are intended to keep drivers’ attention on the road and away from their phones. Launched last summer to deliver real-time traffic reports as audio rather than text, Aha Mobile’s newly revised mobile application includes news, podcasts, social media streams, and information about nearby businesses, with minimal finger gestures and onscreen reading required in an effort to ensure the safety of both drivers and the people around them.

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Aha Mobile reads drivers traffic info, Facebook status

​What frequent drivers need is a way to search for information while cruising without taking your eyes off the road. That's what Robert Acker, president and CEO of Aha Mobile, thought when creating his yet-to-be-released application for iPhone and Android.

Before they put foot to pedal, drivers will set up a dashboard of buttons, each representing an audio channel for everything from the traffic report for the road you're on, to a search for nearby bathrooms and cafes, music channel, and your Facebook news feed. As we saw in Acker's demo at the Under The Radar start-up event in Mountain View, CA, pressing a button triggers a robotic voice that reads out the information you've selected.

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App delivers location-based info from drivers to drivers

Aha Mobile is an iPhone app that offers drivers location-based information and entertainment. A personally tailored audio stream not only provides up-to-the-minute traffic info, but also features “shouts”—15 second snippets recorded through the application by other drivers in the area. The idea is that drivers can help each other out by sharing reports on road conditions, extending the real-time connectivity that people have on Facebook or Twitter. Furthering the social element, drivers can belt out tunes in the Caraoke Room, or vent their road rage in the Bad Driver Shout Room.

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