Honda is giving its in-car infotainment system a major overhaul with the debut of its all-new cloud-based HondaLink in-car connectivity system. The new system, which is set to debut on the 2013 Honda Accord this fall is followed by the 2013 Honda CrossTour, the first OEM application of Harman’s Aha radio.
Honda announced on Wednesday that it would join, however belatedly, the connected car race, pledging a new HondaLink telematics system for the Honda Accord. The upgraded system will be offered in the sedan this fall.
Like systems offered by nearly every major automaker, the more robust HondaLink relies on owners’ Android and iPhone handsets to feed information from the Web to an in-dash display. Honda said drivers would be able to stream Internet radio stations, download audiobooks, view aggregated ratings for nearby restaurants and have Facebook feeds read aloud.
Internet-connected in-dash entertainment systems are quickly multiplying as manufacturers try to keep with the smartphone explosion.
Honda and Subaru, along with aftermarket radio makers such as Kenwood and Pioneer, have decided to give a company called Aha, owned by stereo maker Harmon, a try.
Honda has been playing it safe in the infotainment game, as competition from Ford and General Motors push ahead with ambitious systems that leverage drivers’ devices and the cloud. But next month the Japanese automaker plans to reveal its next-generation infotainment solution, HondaLink, before it becomes available on the 2013 Accord this fall.
Recently, Honda has announced that it will be unveiling its new HondaLink system; ahead of the release of the 2013 Accord it will be available in later this year.
International CTIA WIRELESS® 2012 this week awarded an Emerging Technology (E-Tech) Award to Aha by HARMAN, the infotainment platform that makes Web content safe for drivers. A panel of recognized industry experts, media and analysts awarded Aha the best mobile application in the category of “Social, Content, Media & Entertainment” where it competed with apps by AT&T, Disney, Doro and T-Mobile. Aha was also a finalist for best mobile application for Automotive, Safe Driving & Transportation. Aha’s free apps are available for download in the iTunes store and Google Play.
Though Web-connected infotainment systems have become important selling points for automakers, endlessly vetting and serving apps to those systems after making the sale may not be how companies want to use their resources. Outside firms have stepped into the void, acting as middlemen between content providers and a car’s telematics system.
Last week at the New York auto show, Acura announced that its 2013 RLX would use software from Aha, a content packager for mobile platforms, on a new in-dash system. Drivers will find Aha on the system’s display, alongside regular radio and navigation options.
Cable companies (still) rule TVs. Microsoft owns the desktop. Android and Apple are the reigning smart phones.
But no one yet owns the fourth screen: the one in the car.
At the New York International Auto Show this week, car makers continue to trot out different breeds of connected-car services on in-dash LCDs. Buyers want these services -- a combination of navigation, entertainment, and communications -- in new vehicles, and a raft of companies are racing to provided them in this fall's 2013 models.
Acura announced that Aha by Harmon, an interactive infotainment platform will be offered in its RLX vehicles starting in 2013. Aha offers wide variety of stations with web-based content including Internet radio, podcasts and audio books that can be personalized. Accessible via laptop or smartphone, the platform will be integrated into a redesigned Acura audio systems integrated through Bluetooth. Aha claims to provide a safe driving experience “that makes sense at 65 mph.” Acura is the latest company to partner with Aha joining Ferrari, Honda and Subaru.
Acura's RL has long been a struggling warhorse, unable to keep the company ahead of the technology charge led by other automakers. But its replacement, the RLX, looks to at least put Acura back on the front lines.