Tech Feature Friday: Bluetooth Audio in a 2012 Toyota Yaris
Latest Bluetooth audio spec lets you see what you’re listening to -- and may be coming to your next car.
Bluetooth audio has become a popular feature because it allows drivers to wirelessly send music from a smartphone to a car radio, if both have the capability. And with streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify, Bluetooth audio is a convenient way to listen to content from the cloud, via applications on a smartphone, without a physical connection to a vehicle.
Another benefit of Bluetooth audio is that you don’t need to have the device available unless you want see what’s playing. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised this week to find the artist name and song title on the radio display in a 2012 Toyota Yaris SE -- a vehicle not exactly known for cutting-edge tech features -- when listening to music via Bluetooth audio on my iPhone 4.
Thanks to a Bluetooth spec known as Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) that’s becoming more common on automakers' radios, you get to see what’s playing. The latest infotainment systems, such Chevy MyLink and Buick IntelliLink, will even show cover art via Bluetooth audio thanks to the AVRCP spec and metadata mavens Gracenote. (Coincidentally, I also found that the Bluetooth AVRCP is included on a $450 JVC KW-ADV64BT App Link aftermarket radio I recently installed in one of my cars.)
Contrast this with the recent past, when the only Bluetooth audio functions available were play and pause, as shown in the photo below in a much more expensive Acura ZDX. That you can get this feature on a car such as the Yaris, with a sticker price of $17,340, proves that car tech is becoming more democratized. That's better for all drivers.
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