Automakers embrace online music apps
At the forefront of the connected-car revolution are online music apps, enabling drivers to listen to the music services they have become accustomed to on the Web or their phones, all using a safe dashboard interface.
Just about every new car comes with a USB port and Bluetooth streaming, letting you bring in digital-audio devices and play music through the car's stereo. But many people have already moved from stored media to online music services.
Automakers are just beginning to keep up, integrating existing online music services with new models.
Not only can a built-in interface for an online music service make a car more attractive to a devotee of that service, but it also provides a safer interface. Where a Pandora fan might hook his phone up to a car's auxiliary port, then stare down at the phone while changing stations, the car's own LCD can provide a larger, more driving-friendly interface. Changing Pandora stations becomes as easy as changing a radio station on the car stereo.
Of course, automakers are just getting started integrating music services. Ford is clearly in the lead, offering more than 10 music services integrated with its Sync App Link feature. On the app side, Pandora has built up a big lead over its competition, getting integration into more makes than any other service.
We gathered interface photos and details about each automaker's offering in this quickly growing field.