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Porsche gets online search, entertainment at CES 2013

Porsche unveiled Aha integration at CES 2013, giving its cars an online connection through drivers' smartphones for music, podcasts, audiobooks, and even Google destination searches.

Porsche Aha integration
Porsche now integrates Aha online channels into its PCM infotainment system. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

LAS VEGAS--A bright-red Cayenne GTS parked at CES 2013 showcased Porsche's newly announced integration with Aha, an online service combining channels for radio stations, Slacker, audiobooks, podcasts, and other Internet-based content. And in a first for both Aha and Porsche, the system adds Google local search.

Drivers will need to load the Aha app on their smartphones and create an account, after which they can browse through Aha's collection of 30,000 channels, adding them to a favorites list. Hooking the phone up to a Porsche equipped with the Aha Online Services option, drivers will be able to access the channels from the car's touch screen.

Along with radio stations from around the world, Aha incorporates the Slacker online music service, news feeds from the likes of CNN and NPR, podcasts, and audiobooks. Drivers will be able to listen to a stream, pause it, and continuing listening from that point either in the car or from the phone. Aha shows functions tailored to each channel, such as a heart button for songs on Slacker, or a thumbs-up button for radio stations.

Porsche also incorporated Aha's complete channel listings, so drivers can add new channels to their favorites. The channels are categorized for easier browsing.

Porsche Aha integration
Google search is a new component of Aha incorporated into the Porsche. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

A new feature for both Porsche and Aha is the addition of online search through Google. Drivers can enter a search term on the touch screen, and Aha will process the request and send back a list of nearby corresponding locations from Google.

Beyond that freeform search, Aha includes channels for coffee shops and restaurants, and the newly added Hotels channel. Selecting one of these channels brings up the nearest five corresponding locations in the direction of travel. The listings include a Yelp rating for coffee shops and restaurants, and TripAdvisor information for hotels. The address from any entry can be ported to the navigation system at the touch of a button.

Porsche is making Aha an option with its PCM, or Porsche Communication Management, which bundles navigation, hands-free phone, and digital audio. Any Porsche model with the PCM can have the Aha integration.

Porsche Aha integration
Aha showcased its partnership with Porsche in this red Cayenne GTS at CES 2013. Wayne Cunningham/CNET