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Car Tech Video: Toyota Entune

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Car Tech Video: Toyota Entune

4:27 /

Toyota unveils its first foray into the mobile apps platform with Entune, an interface that requires you to install an app on your smartphone so you can run several apps in your car, such as Pandora, Bing search, and OpenTable. Brian Cooley shows off the hits and misses.

This 2012 Camry is the first car from Toyota to feature their new In-Tune Systems. This is one of the most ambitious of the in-car app platforms. The way it works is you install In-Tune app, a master app if you will on your smart phone. Android, iPhone, I believe Blackberry as well and all you see there is the In-Tune Screen. That though means you are connected and then from the Cloud this car pulls through your phone 5 popular apps. You got Bing which is of course is Microsoft's search engine. Notice that when I get a result, it's going to be oriented toward navigation and very simplified. So I can go to it if I want to and while Bing does have voice command that is like kind of the top of the screen, I find that it's about half as good as what I've got in my android phone. Now Google's voice command on their phones is the best but this isn't really even close. In fact, let's compare these 2 head to head for experience, results and speed just to see how they go. I'm gonna try and start both the voice commands of Google on Android and Bing on In-Tune at the same time and you can see how they come back and what they bring us. I'll use the same search term for both. I'll speak simultaneously. CBS Interactive. Okay I got the result on the Toyota In-Tune system significantly later and I haven't even gotten to navigation yet. You saw how much faster it was and I'll tell you about half the time the In-Tune system knows what I'm talking about. About 90% of the time or more the Google system know what I'm talking about. So there's a bit of a gap in the performance here for voice based search to nav or search to call but they're on the right path. iHeartRadio is the streaming version of the stations that are run by Clear Channel. The biggest (company?) radio stations in the country. So you can tune around and listen to stations in other markets wherever you're driving. I find the buffering and the load time on that app in particular is very slow. When I'm changing stations, looking for stations, launching the app. It takes forever. Once it starts streaming though I find the quality was robust but it also seem to be taking a lot of (head room?) on my phone as you might imagine. So other things like e-mail and text seem to be slower to come in or occasionally to cause this to hiccup. Note that when I'm on iHeartRadio, I do not have any way to drive that via voice. This is common to a lot these In-Tune apps and the voice button here on the wheel does not get you there. This is only for the old legacy voice commands. So a lot of times that we're driving along, that will lock out a lot of the features so you don't get distracted and you're kinda stuck just letting it play or turning it off. That's the design flaw. MovieTickets.com is like (fan dangle?). You can look for movies and even buy tickets when there's a little gold ticket displayed alongside the film. You can look by location, nearest theaters or hit the Movies button. One thing I don't have is a search for a title. There's nothing like that here where I can type in a name of a movie. That makes this a little bit laborious to drag through in trying to find what I'm looking for. OpenTable you know look for restaurants, make a reservation, see some ratings. When I'm moving these buttons blank out. So these becomes useless unless you have a history of restaurants. These all gets locked out and there's no voice command on this one either and Pandora needs the least introduction and you can also send and sync destinations to the car which is a nice feature as well. Now note this, notice these arrows in the left and right. Clearly Toyota's built in the ability to move to additional panels in the future of more apps but I believe their strategy is going to be always curating the apps so that you can't drop what you want in there, from let's say the Android or iOS market. They're gonna come in through this master app on the smart phone. So overall, this is a very ambitious system. The key goodness in it, the Cloud brings down a basket of 5 manage in curated apps and they've chosen good ones and the fact that it's a very well done interface, it's also very solid. The installation of this app was very robust. I put this in. I set up an account on a Toyota website and I entered my vehicles (VIN?) number. I did that to screw around with a bunch of Bluetooth on Bluetooth off monkey business. So that part is all solid. On the downside, too much is locked out when the car is moving from both physical control or even voice control and finally some optimization of the Cloud back in to make things load and snap a little faster. I'm pretty sure that's coming. This is a general release improvement because this is a 1.0. So look for these in various Toyota vehicles. This one has great potential. I'm looking forward to seeing the 2.0.

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