The Consumer Electronics show is happening now and for satellite radio investors one major consideration is what is happening in the dashboard of vehicles. Several manufacturers are making substantial upgrades to their in dash entertainment platforms. Among those making big moves is Toyota. The company announced yesterday that their ETune multimedia platform will begin rolling out throughout the year.
ETune will include satellite radio, but goes much further as well. Full integration between smart phones and dashboards is the real news here. Services such as navigation and streaming of other audio content via Bluetooth is the big leap here. Consumers will now have many choices and satellite radio's competition in the dash is getting stiffer.
HOW IT WORKS
Toyota Entune leverages the customer’s mobile phone (smart phone with a data plan) to create a rich in-vehicle experience that offers fully integrated and upgradeable entertainment, navigation, and information services. By utilizing conversational voice recognition and in-vehicle controls, the driver doesn’t have to touch their mobile phone, allowing for safer connectivity. Toyota Entune simplifies the interaction for customers and will be available in select vehicles this year.
“Consumers have grown accustomed to having the world at their fingertips through their mobile phones,” said Jon Bucci, vice president of the Advanced Technology Department at Toyota. “And unlike other industry solutions, Entune allows the driver to interact with informative and entertaining mobile content without fumbling with their phone. We offer features that our customers demand and integrate them seamlessly in the vehicle.”
After downloading the Toyota Entune mobile application and pairing a Bluetooth capable phone with their Toyota vehicle, customers can begin accessing a wide variety of personalized content and services. Toyota Entune is wirelessly upgradeable, so in-vehicle applications are never obsolete. Ensuring that nearly all customers can take advantage of this new technology, Toyota Entune is compatible with a wide variety of mobile phones with a data plan. Toyota Entune key features include:
Toyota Entune debuts Bing, keeping navigation continuously up to date with more than 16 million points of interest; OpenTable, make a reservation at one of 15,000 restaurants; and MovieTickets.com, buy movie tickets and read reviews. All destinations can be seamlessly sent to the navigation system. Making drivers’ lives even easier, Toyota Entune delivers customizable real time traffic, fuel prices, weather, stocks and sports.
Toyota Entune brings you more music in more ways with iheartradio’s 750+ hometown stations; personalized stations with Pandora; XM satellite radio 170+ channels with coast-to-coast coverage; and introducing HD Radio, digital broadcasts of your favorite terrestrial music. Toyota Entune also offers USB connectivity for portable media players and traditional terrestrial radio.
Featuring a best-in-class, advanced conversational voice recognition system, Toyota Entune eliminates the need to memorize thousands of voice commands. The intuitive interface allows the driver to focus more on the road ahead.
“Toyota has always been a leader in the automotive industry, so it makes sense it would bring the latest in mobile technology to the car,” said Chris Daniels, general manager of Bing for Mobile, Microsoft Corp. “By bringing Bing Maps and Bing for Mobile technology to the car, we are helping Toyota enhance the overall in-vehicle experience to be as rich and robust as possible, which means personalizing the information to each driver’s needs.”
Toyota Entune continues to build on the excellent foundation laid by Safety Connect, bringing peace of mind to drivers with an added layer of more personalized and convenience-oriented features. Safety Connect is the cornerstone of Toyota’s telematics systems providing Automatic Collision notification, Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance, Emergency Assistance, and Roadside Assistance on select Toyota models. Safety Connect combined with Toyota Entune offers comprehensive safety services and mobile applications not found in any other vehicle make.
Systems such as this will become more and more the norm with each passing year. Technology is finally getting to the dashboard in a manner that allows consumers the ultimate in flexibility. There was a point in time during the Sirius and XM meger process when services such as Pandora were labeled as competition but many investors did not take it seriously. Now Padora is getting into the dashboard in more and more ways and the competitive landscape in the OEM dashboard is getting more crowded.
While use of this technology requires certain data plans that carry costs, consumers will ultimately buy what they want. Satellite radio still has a substantial content advantage as well as coverage advantage, but that gap is narrowing. It is now more important than ever for Sirius XM to hold onto their exclusive content to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack.
Position - Long Sirius XM Radio