Applications are moving away from just the smartphone, or even the feature phone. As they become a very part of people's lives, they need to be incorporated into more than just the phone. That's why car companies are putting them into their vehicles, and the way that we use our cars is changing faster and faster. Toyota wants to put themselves at the forefront of that movement, and the company is unveiling their take on the mobile application -- making it mobile. Toyota's Entune is a new way for people to use applications with their car, all while focusing on the safety that's so necessary.
Entune is a suite of apps, all collected to bring drivers an easier, and ultimately more enjoyable way to interact with their vehicle. Featuring applications like Pandora, iHeartRadio, OpenTable, Tickets.com, and Bing, Entune is a multimedia system that will be launched with five applications, but Toyota is already planning on integrating more in short time. A simple process for the owner of a new Toyota to head to Toyota's website, register their vehicle's VIN, and then download the necessary application to make the magic happen.
Safety is a huge concern for the company, and they plan on making the applications stop functioning, in some fashion or another, while they are driving. For example, you'll be able to add new radio stations to your Pandora account as long as the car isn't in motion -- the moment it starts moving, that functionality will be shut down, and you'll only be able to listen to music, and change channels.
Toyota has plans to launch the service some time this year, but a definitive date hasn't been confirmed yet. The company plans on launching an iPhone and iPad application, but Android, Research In Motion, and even feature phones are planned for the future. The full press release is below for more information.
LAS VEGAS, January 4, 2011 – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) U.S.A., Inc. today unveiled the Toyota Entune™ multimedia system at the Consumer Electronics Show. Toyota Entune leverages the customer’s mobile phone 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:
• Mobile Apps – 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.
• Music – 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.
• Voice Recognition – 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.
Toyota Entune will be available as an option on select models this year. The featured apps of Toyota Entune include: Bing, iheartradio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable.com, and Pandora, as well as location-based services, such as personalized traffic, fuel prices, stocks, weather, and sports. Toyota Entune also includes support for read-back and replay capabilities for text messages. These are combined with a fully featured entertainment and communication system, which includes XM radio, HD Radio, CD player, USB connectivity, Bluetooth streaming and phonebook. A high quality JBL sound system is available as an option as well.
Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. is the marketing, sales, distribution and customer service arm of Toyota, Lexus and Scion. Established in 1957, TMS markets products and services through a network of nearly 1,500 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers which sold more than 1.77 million vehicles in 2009. Toyota directly employs nearly 30,000 people in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion.