image courtesy of Honda
Honda Motor Co Ltd (TYO:7267) (NYSE:HMC) (PINK:HNDAF) wants to revamp some of their cars by making them more social media friendly. On Wednesday at the CES 2012 show, Honda announced their plans to launch a new service that’s titled HondaLink as part of their partnership with Harman International’s Aha Radio.
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The service is, more or less, a souped-up version of the Aha app. It will allow users to listen to a variety of internet radio stations, including Slacker Radio, or search for local restaurants via Yelp, it also allows users to listen to an audio version of the Facebook and Twitter feeds. HondaLink is set to arrive this fall with the 2013 Honda Accord.
Unfortunately, in order to use the app, people will have to download the Honda Motor Co Ltd Link application on their iPhone, or Android phone, and then pair it to the car through Bluetooth. The good news is that you won’t need a separate data plan for this app, as you won’t need a different data plan for the car.
This mobile app sounds like a nice idea, since it allows drivers to access apps on the go in the car. According to Vicki Poponi, Honda’s assistant vice president for product planning, “HondaLink will enable customers to put away their phone and still stay connected to the people, music and media they love. By creating an intuitive and customizable user interface, HondaLink allows drivers to access digital content as easily as choosing a radio station.”
HondaLink also includes HondaLink EV, which was meant for the Fit EV all-electric vehicle, as well as the Accord Plug-In Hybrid. Owners of these cars can find their own specific apps that were made to enhance the utility of their car.
Mobile internet is everywhere these days, and even automobiles today are getting equipped to enhance the driver’s mobile experience. Honda isn’t the only car manufacturer that’s cashing in on this fairly recent opportunity. Earlier this year, Subaru started offering Aha Radio service in select automobiles, which would allow users to access all their favorite web radio stations, in addition to traditional and satellite radio. In April, Aha joined forces with Acura to create an informative-entertainment app that’s quite similar to the HondaLink app described in the blog.
With innovative cars and apps, it’s easy to predict that satellite radio will eventually become another casualty thanks to mobile phones. People are not going to want to pay a premium price, for something they can access for free.