Some automakers have app suites within their infotainment systems that let you access third-party streaming or other services right from the dashboard. But what happens when those services shutter? Some Toyota drivers are about to find out.
Toyota announced in an email sent to customers that it will no longer support Pandora (music streaming) and OpenTable (restaurant reservations) through its Entune App Suite. Owners have until Nov. 13 to use those two services through the infotainment system, at which point they will turn off for good.
Perhaps the most rankling part of this is that, once the services no longer work, the icons will still appear on the dashboard. And every time you or a passenger decides to click on one of the non-functioning apps, it'll throw an error message. The system likely can't remove these icons without an update, but it's unclear if Toyota plans to update its systems to get rid of these icons, or if every owner of this car from now until the heat death of the universe will have useless apps on their screens.
Toyota didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. I asked whether this was Toyota's decision or the decision of the companies in charge of the apps, but since the email to customers says "these products and services will no longer be supported by the third-party application providers," it sounds like OpenTable and Pandora are the ones dropping support.
Toyota did point out that owners can still use Pandora, but they'll have to do it via their phones' USB or Bluetooth connections. Other apps, like Facebook, iHeartRadio and Yelp should continue to work just fine. In order to use the Entune App Suite apps, you'll need to download a complimentary Toyota app on your phone, since that's how the system gets the data it needs to function.
This was inevitable, in a sense. Companies come and go, priorities change and things get lost in the shuffle. I can't imagine that somebody bought their Toyota just because they could book table reservations through the infotainment screen, but seeing a service just disappear from a car stinks no matter what. Odds are that, as more automakers attempt to mitigate distraction through the infotainment system, we'll see more of this across the industry.