Honda became the latest car maker to jump into the connected car market with its HondaLink infotainment platform. The platform, which is powered by telematics firm Harman International's Aha, works with Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system.
Click here for a video of HondaLink.
The system uses a smartphone to feed information into a dashboard display, and is also connected to many different information streams, from Facebook status updates to Slacker radio to Yelp listings for nearby restaurants. The new platform, which was previewed in January at the Consumer Electronics Show, will be available in the 2013 Honda Accord and Crosstour as well as future Honda vehicles.
The Aha platform is different than other telematics services in that it relies in part on software in the car's dashboard, but also on the smartphone (for the Internet access and applications) as well as the cloud. Once the HondaLink app is downloaded, the smartphone is linked to the software and content channels in the car called "stations," of which Aha says it has 3,000.
Of course, Honda is not the only car company trying to create a greater bond with drivers' smartphones--Ford offers its Sync service, OnStar is available on a number of vehicles, and Chrysler provides a uConnect offering.
In other automotive news, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) launched an integrated, end-to-end, usage-based insurance service called Integrated Insurance Solutions. The program is designed for auto insurance companies to track customers' driving behavior and offer them personalized discounts based on their driving habits.
Under the system, vehicles are fitted with a small device that captures vehicle information and driver behavior data. The data travels on Sprint's network to a cloud-based system that analyzes the data, allowing insurance companies to improve driver risk assessments, reduce costs and increase profitability.
- see this GigaOM article
- see this CNET article
- see this NYT blog post
- see this Sprint release
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