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Toyota aspires to be app king

Toyota announced its new Entune telematic service today, which integrates five smartphone apps, including Bing, OpenTable, and Pandora.

Entune Main menu
Entune offers five apps on its main menu. Toyota

LAS VEGAS--Ford kicked off the movement to integrate smartphone apps in the car with its AppLink extension to Sync, and now Toyota is getting into the game with its new Entune telematics service. Toyota announced it will roll out Entune with five apps, more than Ford's initial three, later this year in select models.

Last year Toyota released a few details about integrating Clear Channel's iheartradio app into its cars. Along with iheartradio, Entune integrates MovieTickets.com, OpenTable, Pandora, and Microsoft's Bing for local search.

Unlike Ford's AppLink system, Entune users will need to install the Entune app on their phones, but not the individual apps. These apps reside on a server, with the Entune app integrating their functionality with the car.

Although Entune integrates with Bing, the system is not based on Microsoft's automotive platform. Toyota worked with Nuance to create a new voice command system that will let drivers use natural language to tune in music with Pandora and iheartradio, look for local businesses with Bing, make restaurant reservations with OpenTable, and buy movie tickets with MovieTickets.com.

Entune also delivers traffic, gas prices, and weather. Toyota says that Entune integrates with the navigation system, entering addresses found with Bing, for example, as the current destination. Similar to the Enform telematics system recently introduced for Lexus vehicles, Entune also includes stock prices and sports scores.

Versions of the Entune app will be available for Android, Blackberry, and iPhone phones. When the phone is paired with the car, Entune services will become available on the car's touch screen.

Entune also rolls in Toyota's previous Safety Connect services, which include collision notification, emergency assistance, and roadside assistance.