HondaLink to Debut on New Accord
System uses a smartphone application, Aha Radio to bring cloud-based content into the car.
Honda has entered the connected-car race, joining rival Toyota and its Entune system. The move comes just in time for the launch of the all-new 2013 Honda Accord, one of the automaker's best-sellers, this fall. Like Entune, the new HondaLink system uses a connected smartphone to bring cloud-based content into the car using a single “gatekeeper” application to keep the features under one roof -- or, in this case, a single icon on your phone.
But unlike Entune, which combines about a half-dozen apps including Pandora Internet radio and Bing local search, HondaLink will use the umbrella service Aha Radio, a subsidiary of automotive electronics giant Harman. What this means is that drivers will have access to dozens of cloud-connected features available through Aha Radio: Internet music services such as Pandora-rival Slacker, podcasts from NPR and other outlets, location-based restaurant listings and reviews from Yelp, plus Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds that can be read to the driver.
These are available through the regular Aha Radio smartphone app. But with HondaLink, the content can be accessed using controls on the car’s radio and steering wheel, and through voice activation. Since Aha is an off-board system, there’s no hardware -- or even software -- in the car to update. As new features and upgrades become available, updating the app via the smartphone keeps the content and features fresh.
In making the announcement yesterday via a web-based press conference, Honda revealed that the new system will first support iPhone and Android devices, which will connect to the car via Bluetooth and USB for iPhone and Bluetooth only for Android. Pricing and packaging options were not announced. And, not counting the upcoming redesigned Crosstour that will also get HondaLink when it comes out, neither were any specific vehicles mentioned that will receive the system after the Accord. HondaLink will also include a feature that was introduced on the 2012 Honda CR-V that converts SMS messages from text to speech and plays them for the driver, with available preprogrammed responses that can be sent by the driver.
A separate HondaLink EV system with its own app specifically designed for the new all-electric Honda Fit EV and the upcoming Accord Plug-In Hybrid was announced late last month. HondaLink EV will allow owners to view the charging status remotely, begin charging and activate the car’s climate controls to cool or heat the interior while still connected to the grid, thereby maximizing battery range.
HondaLink EV will allow owners to view the charging status remotely, begin charging and activate the car’s climate controls to cool or heat the interior while still connected to the grid, thereby maximizing battery range.
If they actually truely wanted to maximize battery range, these EVs would have no radio, manual windows, no touch-screen infotainment system, no heated seats, etc.
This is a perfect example of selling "green" to people. Everyone's all about saving the environment - without eliminating comfort, of course. These cars most definitely could be "greener" and SO MUCH MORE efficient if they put more focus into THE CAR, rather than the "apps."
If they took all the electronic crap out of these things and made everything manual, then EVs would at least be relevant to the "green" movement, as well as match the personalities of the people who buy them - boring.
Oh, my V8... you're so great.
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