Over in Las Vegas, the world’s biggest consumer technology companies (well, apart from the very biggest and fruitiest one) are showing off their new devices at the CES trade show.
One of the trends that’s coming through clearly at this year’s event is the evolution of in-car entertainment and connectivity, with music playing a prominent role.
So, carmaker Chrysler made a swathe of announcements for its UConnect in-car platform, with deals announced with Slacker Radio, iHeartRadio and Pandora.
Ford announced an open mobile app developer program for iOS and Android apps, helping more apps play nice with its SYNC AppLink platform. It also revealed a deal with Rhapsody. Rival GM unveiled its own MyLink platform for apps, with iHeartRadio, TuneIn and Slacker all on board.
It’s interesting to look more deeply at the strategies of Pandora and iHeartRadio though. Pandora says it’s now part of the dashboards for 20 top automotive brands in the US, as well as seven manufacturers of in-car entertainment systems.
More than 1m people have tuned in to Pandora from its automotive integrations, although that pales in comparison to the 125m people who’ve used the service from smartphones or tablets.
iHeartRadio, meanwhile, has a new iHeartAuto app that’s optimised for in-car use, providing a “safety-minded” interface for drivers to access live radio stations and its personalised Custom Stations. Manufacturers like Clarion, Pioneer and Kenwood are already working with it.
The question for 2013 and beyond is whether the streaming radio services’ automotive partnerships will put them in the driver’s seat for in-car digital music listening compared to on-demand services like Spotify and Deezer.
Oh, and also how cars will figure in Apple’s anticipated iRadio announcement, since automotive is firmly on that company’s radar too.