We've known about Honda's plans to bring Aha Radio along for the ride and the tech has already gotten cozy in Subaru and Acura autos. The company has officially outted its plan to partner with Harman to bring web radio, podcasts and both Facebook and Twitter audio news feeds to the in-dash systems of 2013 vehicles. Unlike what we saw in the BRZ, though, HondaLink will arrive with its own smartphone app in tow for pre-selecting content before hopping in the driver's seat. However, you'll still need a tethered smartphone in order to run things, the entire kit can be futzed with via steering wheel and on-dash controls. The system will also bundle Pandora and voice-to-text SMS messaging that has already made its way to some models. HondaLink will break from cover this fall in the 2013 Accord, but a peek at the preliminary interface awaits after the break.
New Cloud-Based HondaLink™ Connected Car System Helps Drivers Put Away Their Phones While Maintaining Intuitive Access to Their Favorite Media
HondaLink™ provides first-ever OEM application of Aha®, delivering robust digital content via preset smartphone app
TORRANCE, July 18, 2012 – Honda today unveiled HondaLink™, a new in-vehicle connectivity system that will debut this fall on the all-new, ninth-generation 2013 Honda Accord. Featuring the first automotive OEM application of Aha® by Harman, HondaLink will provide a personalized experience connecting drivers to thousands of cloud-based news, information and entertainment feeds from around the world, using an intuitive, audio-system based interface.
"HondaLink will enable customers to put away their phone and still stay connected to the people, music and media they love," said Vicki Poponi, assistant vice president of product planning for American Honda. "By creating an intuitive andcustomizable user interface, HondaLink allows drivers to access digital content as easily as choosing a radio station."
Honda's intuitive new HondaLink smartphone application allows owners to preset content on their phone. Once in the car, consumers can enjoy personalized content accessible via voice recognition, steering-wheel mounted controls and in-dash audio system controls. With a tethered smartphone serving as a conduit to a wealth of cloud- based media, HondaLink creates a unique, connected driving experience.
"Honda's strategy is about leveraging the cloud to bring a wealth of new information and services to Honda owners," said Charles Koch, American Honda manager of new business development. "This is the next evolution of the connected car and the connected customer."
Through the Aha service, for example, HondaLink users can listen to Facebook and Twitter audio newsfeeds, podcasts from NPR, location-based personalized restaurant listings from Yelp!, and access internet music services such as Slacker. The service is free and instantly accessible from the cloud.
Aha delivers a user-friendly experience requiring infrequent smartphone software updates, with in-vehicle content and channel access updating simply and automatically throughout the vehicle life. And content available from HondaLink will grow as the system continues to expand its services for Honda owners. HondaLink will also incorporate Pandora internet radio and voice-to-text SMS text services with pre-programmed responses, which Honda introduced on the 2012 CR-V.
The HondaLink family also includes HondaLink EV, specifically designed for the all-new Fit EV all-electric vehicle and the upcoming Accord Plug-In Hybrid. Owners of these electric vehicles will have access to unique applications designed specifically to maintain connectivity to their vehicle. The HondaLink EV application will allow the user to remotely view the state of charge, initiate charging, and activate the air conditioning and heater to pre-condition the vehicle while connected to the grid to maximize battery range on start-up. HondaLink EV will launch with the Fit EV, which will be available for lease in California and Oregon beginning on July 20, 2012.