Toyota launched a new telematics service at CES 2011, although it has yet to be confirmed for Australia.
In tune with Entune
This new service works through an Entune app loaded onto the driver's smartphone. The Entune app integrates with select navigation-equipped Toyota models in the US, with the apps shown on the car's LCD screen. The driver can control the apps via either the touchscreen or through voice command.
It's unclear at this stage whether Entune will be heading to Australian Toyotas and, if it is, when.
Five to go
The main app screen in the car will show five apps initially, although Toyota will add more as it develops them. These apps use the phone's data connection. Some apps, such as Bing's local search, integrate with the navigation system, setting found addresses as a new destination.
Break it down, hammer time
Bing is the only app at launch to offer voice command, indicated by the microphone icon at the top of the screen. This voice command system parses natural speech, looking for keywords to generate its search. Users will be able to perform searches for local businesses using fairly vague terms, for example finding hardware stores by saying the word hammer.
Table for two?
The OpenTable app lets users search for restaurants by location and whether tables are available. A user could make a reservation, then have Entune send the restaurant address to the navigation system.
Pandora has proven to be a popular "radio" app for in-car systems in the US. Toyota offers it in Entune with this touchscreen interface. Although voice command does not work with Pandora, steering wheel controls will let the user skip tracks.
I heart Huckabees
Another US-centric app is iheartradio, which gives users a choice from hundreds of Clear Channel radio stations from around the United States. The radio station is streamed over the internet to the phone, then through the car's speakers.