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Tech Industry: Toyota Entune

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Tech Industry: Toyota Entune

3:28 /

At CES 2011, Brian Cooley shows us the Toyota Entune system.

-One of the biggest trends here in the International CES 2011 is this idea of Technology Ecosystem. So, with all the media, all the services you use on a smartphone, a tablet, a connected TV, a netbook, or in your car are all common to wherever you go as opposed to the car being one experience and other devices being another experience. Here's a good example of that. From Toyota, it's a new platform called Entune. Now, this is a very familiar Toyota/Lexus-looking map interface. Seen this many times? Great looking piece, but watch what happens when I press the info button. We haven't seen this before. There's a little apps icon there. That's something new. Dig in to that and you get a basket of 5 applications that should be familiar to you. These are not unique to cars. These are well-known and very popular out there in the whole world of digital living. There's Bing search. In this case, it's been tuned to be a Bing search that is all about places you might go. Points of interest that's relevant to automotive navigation. Not a wide-open Bing search for pictures of Lady Gaga or something. Next to that is iHeartRadio. This is an aggregator of all the clear channel corporation broadcast stations, like 750 broadcast stations; but they're not broadcasting, they're streaming into your car thanks to a connection that we'll get to in just a moment. So, you now just added probably what 20x to the number of stations you actually have where you live even if you live in a great big metro. This is MovieTickets.com. Pretty obvious from the name and it lets you, depending whether you're driving or whether you're still, do a search of theaters nearby, find what's showing, and it'll change the listing and how it shows that so that it's safe and not excessively distracting; and as you go through these listings, you can also see some of the little golden tickets. Those are enabled for online ticket purchase in the car, online live. You know OpenTable. You know Pandora. These come to you in a very different way. Now Ford, say for example, their mobile apps platform has an app that is installed on the phone and then that is sort of partnered into the head unit. This is all pushed out from the cloud. These five are a complete family, a basket of these apps that are sent down as soon as you make a connection to your smartphone. You don't have to onesie-twosie these into your smartphone and, therefore, into your car. Let's talk about the connection now. Now, here's where the connection comes from. Two smartphones are here but they connect through even simpler phones. Some feature phones, BlackBerry devices. We have a Droid here. Here's an iPhone. Any of these are compatible. You get your car VIN number. You go to a site that they operate the Entune site. You load up your VIN number. It tells you where to go based on the phone that you entered as well to get the app, one-time download, and that really creates a bridge from your phone to the head unit. Again, the apps that you see on the car's head unit are pushed down from the cloud, not installed on the phone and pushed across the car. And, of course, these are bluetooth tethered to the head unit just like you do now for hands-free calling or A2DP streaming. Pricing on this is not announced and not even an issue yet because the first 3 years of this service on a new Toyota car that has this will be covered. So, it's gonna be a while before anybody has to worry about the pricing for the service and, of course, what's the applicability of this. So, in a sense, we're going to have 5 basic head units or radio nav systems in their product line going forward and all the ones that have an LCD. Three of those five models will have this technology available inside, so pretty broad. They're not just pushing this up for the high trend of the highest models. We'll know more about this as we get further details at the Detroit Auto Show.

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