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Honda adds Apple Siri Eyes Free to 3 models

Voice assistance feature will be available as a dealer-installed option on the 2013 Accord and Acura RDX and ILX.

By Douglas Newcomb Jan 30, 2013 2:16PM

For years, Apple has dominated portable-device connectivity in vehicles -- and forced automakers to adapt to its products with their abrupt and unexpected changes. That's why it was significant when Apple announced last June that it would become an official automotive supplier by incorporating its Siri “intelligent personal assistant” voice-activation feature into new cars via a feature called Eyes Free.

But more than six months later, only two automakers out of nine that Apple named as partners have announced plans to make the feature available. Chevrolet announced in November that Siri Eyes Free would soon be a factory-installed standard feature for the MyLink system in the Spark and Sonic. Hyundai showed a demonstration of Siri Eyes Free at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month and said that the feature would be available later this year.

Now Honda has announced it will integrate Siri Eyes Free into its vehicles as a dealer-installed option on the 2013 Accord and Acura RDX and ILX models later this year.

Similar to its setup in the Chevy MyLink system, Siri Eyes Free in Honda vehicles will include dictating and sending emails and text messages, reading texts, creating calendar entries, finding points of interest, getting directions and checking weather, sports scores and stock quotes. The main difference is that the Chevy MyLink Siri integration won't read or send emails, but it will perform an Internet search for almost any information, as long as it doesn’t return a Web link that could distract the driver.

Siri Eyes Free in Honda vehicles will allow drivers to connect to the feature on a compatible iPhone with iOS 6 by pressing the voice-activation button on the car’s steering wheel. Honda says it has “re-engineered its software to seamlessly integrate Siri Eyes Free mode” into its vehicles via Bluetooth so that it works with the existing onboard microphone and speaker.

"Honda is just as much a technology company as it is an engine company," Vicki Poponi, assistant vice president of automobile product planning for American Honda, told MSN Autos. "We strive to offer not only fuel-efficient, fun-to-drive cars but new technologies and conveniences like Siri that put Honda and Acura on the always-connected consumer's shopping list."

[Source: Honda]

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