Toyota Announces Entune Multimedia System

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Ford’s success with its Sync multimedia system has already spawned competition from Chrysler, GM and Kia, with Uconnect, Onstar and Uvo, respectively. Today, Toyota joined the pack with its new Entune system.

Entune is Toyota’s new multimedia interface that combines previous disparate offerings, such as XM satellite radio and navigation functions, into one cohesive system.

Entune takes a different approach to in-car multimedia systems. Instead of duplicating many of the functions your smartphone can do, Toyota’s system is intricately tied to the device. Once you download the Entune application to your smartphone, you can use the interface on Toyota’s touch-screen display. The system is composed of multiple apps, Microsoft Bing search and a voice-recognition system that Toyota says is best in class.

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The Bing app service interacts with Toyota’s navigation system by continuously updating it with new points-of-interest information from Bing Maps. An app called Inrix can supplement your navigation system with real-time traffic updates that are “crowd sourced” from more than 3 million cars on the road. Other apps will allow you to use Bing to search and buy movie tickets, make restaurant reservations and check gas prices, weather, stocks and sports info.

The Entune music app, called iheartradio, combines all accessible music from XM satellite radio, Pandora, your USB-connected music player or your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone using Bluetooth audio streaming. Toyota also said it will introduce HD Radio to some of its vehicles this year. That system will also be integrated into iheartradio.

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All of these apps are supposed to be easily accessed through Entune’s voice-recognition system, which Toyota says can be used in a conversational way that’s less dictatorial or scripted as other systems. It will also read back text messages.

Since the Entune system is tethered to a smartphone, you’ll need a compatible handset and, most importantly, a strong signal. This means you could lose your Pandora stream or the Bing search function during a road trip.

Toyota’s HD radio, GPS navigation, Bluetooth audio streaming and XM satellite radio systems should work regardless of your phone’s signal.

Toyota hasn’t announced which phones will work with Entunes, but considering Toyota’s close relationship with Microsoft on this project, we’d assume Windows Phone 7 users will be covered. The system will be offered as an option on several Toyota models this year.

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By Colin Bird | January 4, 2011 | Comments (7)

Comments 

"HD Car Radio Investigation"

"Consumer statutes and laws protect the purchasers of products such as HD car radios. A party may be legally liable for statements, omissions or misrepresentations of material facts that should have been know to be false or misleading and promoted the sale of the product. Such laws protect innocent consumers from unlawful and deceptive practices. The victims of questionable business practices by parties such automobile manufacturers are the consumers who purchase or lease cars with HD car radios at significantly increased costs when these devices fail to function as they are represented to work. As news develops and the investigation proceeds, Keefe Bartels, LLC will carefully monitor events and research all relevant laws."

http://www.keefebartels.com/CM/Custom/HD-Car-Radio-Investigation.asp

Seems Toyota doesn't know, or care, that iBiquity and the automakers that are forcing HD Radio onto consumers are under investigation by Keefe Bartels and Galax Wolf.

It really doesn't matter what Toyota brings out. I drive a 2 year old Lexus and Toyota has everything blocked from access while the car is moving. Pretty much renders it useless since the car is hopefully moving all the time. Won't be buying another Toyota product until that little problem is fixed even if the system is fantastic when the car isn't moving.....

“HD Radio Investigation of Consumer Complants”

http://www.galexwolf.com/sub/Galex-Wolf-HD-Radio.jsp

Here's the other firm's link. I suspect Wolf is handling the consumer-side, and Bartels may be handling the class-action from broadcasters that got suckered into iBiquity's non-functioning system, and/or that are getting clobbered by IBOC interference.

Skankzilla

Mike,

It's not just Toyota doing that, it's everybody. For example my Mazda is the same way.

Shank,

I appreciate that some are doing that but what's the point in making a major upfront investment in tech packages when you buy a new car if it's going to be paralyzed by the nanny. By the way, my BMW doesn't have that problem.

Troy S.

HDRadioFarce,

Why do you seem so against HD radio? When compared typical AM/FM broadcasts, the sound quality of HD radio is amazing when a radio station has it properly equalized and transmitted...plus there's multi-casting. When I listen to my local Public Radio Station I can listen to 2 other "channels" (89.9 HD1, HD2 and HD3) and each of these channels plays different content. Additionally, I don't have to pay any extra money for this superior sound quality and additional radio content. I take it you must work in the radio communications field possibly a field that charges customers?

@Troy: Do you work for an HD Radio station, iBiquity, the NAB, or the HD Radio Alliance? It's no secret to those in the radio industry that HD Radio/IBOC, or IBLOCK as known inside the indusrry, that IBLOCK was designed to put the smaller, adjacent-channel stations out of business through jamming, and confiscatory iBiquity licensing fees. The HD2/HD3 signals blank out the adjacent channels on FM, and IBLOCK's jamming is well know on nighttime AM radio. In the North East, nighttime AM is full of IBLOCK hash. It is iBiquity's plan to "localize" radio by forcing listeners onto their local HD Radio stations, only. I can't wait for these law firms' discovery-phases, when all of this will be put before the Federal Courts. I already emailed ALL of the major media organizations with links to Keefe Bartels and Galax Wolf.

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