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CES 2013: Aha Radio expands to Ford, Chrysler and Porsche

Harman’s cloud-connected infotainment platform makes its move at the Consumer Electronics Show.

By Douglas Newcomb Jan 7, 2013 8:13AM

Aha Radio as part of Porsche's Online Services option. Photo by Aha Radio. The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show officially kicks off tomorrow in Las Vegas. Car companies and their suppliers have been flocking to the giant gadget convention in recent years to show off their latest technology. At this year’s show, apps are where it’s at for many automakers, and Aha Radio by Harman is making a major incursion into a variety of brands.

Subaru was the first automaker to introduce Aha Radio at CES last year, but Honda was the first to implement it, in the all-new 2013 Accord via the HondaLink system. At CES 2013, Aha has announced that Ford, Chrysler and Porsche are adding the service to their vehicles in 2013.

While automakers are pursuing their own individual application strategies, with varying degrees of success, Aha Radio uses cloud services that allow both the app and the content it delivers to stay up-to-date. Most in-car technology, by comparison, becomes dated the instant the car leaves the factory.

By using Aha Radio instead of a dedicated infotainment platform and individual apps, automakers can offer drivers content including Internet radio, podcasts, Facebook and Twitter feeds and Yelp restaurant reviews. More content can be added easily. Like other apps, Aha Radio updates through the user’s smartphone so that it doesn’t become antiquated and can keep up with the rapid pace of consumer technology.

Ford will add Aha to its Ford Sync AppLink platform, while Chrysler will make it available via its UConnect Access system in the 2013 Ram pickup and Viper. Porsche previously announced it will offer Aha Radio in the 911, Boxster, Cayenne, Cayman and Panamera. Aha is part of a Porsche option called Online Services and is available on vehicles equipped with the latest generation of the Porsche Communication Management system.

Subaru is also introducing at CES its new Starlink connectivity system that will feature Aha. The system will debut in navigation-equipped 2014 Foresters. Aha will also be available for 2013 Legacy and Outback models equipped with factory navigation, and Starlink integration will be added to the 2014 Impreza, BRZ and XV Crosstrek starting this summer.

The in-car infotainment and app field is undergoing a Wild West phase, as one respected engineer at a luxury automaker recently mentioned in conversation. Simply, put, there's too much software competing in a limited space. With Harman’s reach as a megasupplier of electronics and with a cloud-connected app platform that’s easily updated, Aha hope to be the new sheriff in town.

Jan 7, 2013 9:32AM
OK, so you will still need your smart-phone to operate this?  Why don't they just make a touch screen that displays the owner's smart-phone screen? 
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