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Honda to introduce cloud-based infotainment system

HondaLink will make its debut this fall in the all-new 2013 Honda Accord

Published: July 21, 2012, 6:00 AM

Honda has revealed information about a new generation of cloud-based infotainment systems that it will introduce this fall with the debut of the ninth-generation 2013 Honda.

Called HondaLink, it will permit drivers to connect to thousands of cloud-based news, information and entertainment feeds from around the world, using an intuitive, audio-system based interface.

According to Honda, it will be the first automotive OEM application of technology called Aha by Harman

"HondaLink will enable customers to put away their phone and still stay connected to the people, music and media they love," said Dave Jamieson, assistant vice president of Honda Canada. "By creating an intuitive and customizable user interface, HondaLink allows drivers to access digital content as easily as choosing a radio station."

It will also incorporate voice-to-text SMS text services (for Android and BlackBerry) with pre-programmed responses, which Honda introduced on the 2012 CR-V.

Unlike some competitors' systems, HondaLink minimizes screen-based displays and controls, but allows owners to preset content on their phones.

Once in the car, they can access that content via voice recognition, steering-wheel mounted controls and conventional audio system controls, with a tethered smartphone serving as a conduit to the cloud-based media.

Through the Aha service, HondaLink users can listen to Facebook and Twitter audio newsfeeds, podcasts from NPR, find 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 is said to require infrequent smartphone software updates, with in-vehicle content and channel access updating simply and automatically throughout the vehicle life.

"Honda's strategy is about leveraging the cloud to bring a wealth of new information and services to Honda owners," said Jamieson. "This is the next evolution of the connected car and the connected customer."

Content available from HondaLink will grow as the system continues to expand its services, the company said.