OEM-System Integration With Smartphones, Tablets Advances

By Joseph Palenchar On Jul 18 2011 - 4:01am

NEW YORK — Smartphone and tablet integration with automotive OEM systems gained ground with separate announcements from Harman International and Pandora.

Harman said it became the first automotive OEM supplier to support the Android Open Accessory Protocol, which lets drivers control Android smartphone and tablet content — including music, movie and navigation apps — through a car’s dashboard and steeringwheel controls and via a vehicle’s OEM voice-activation system.

For its part, Internet music service Pandora announced that it established a relationship with Scion and expanded its Ford relationship.

At Harman, the company will build the Android protocol into its low- to high-end offerings to connect to Android tablets and smartphones via USB. The protocol is built into Android tablets running Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) and Android smartphones running Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) and later. Harman’s Android protocol adoption extends Android email and SMS support previously launched by the company.

Additional capabilities enabled by the Android protocol adoption include enhancing OEM navigation systems by, for example, delivering info via smartphone on nearby restaurants, tourist spots or gas stations for overlay into OEM maps.

With Harman’s adoption of the Android protocol, the OEM supplier said it supports all major mobile operating systems, including Apple’s iOS, Research in Motion’s BlackBerry platform and Nokia’s existing mobile systems.

For its part, Internet music service Pandora announced that it established a relationship with Scion and expanded its Ford relationship. Ford plans to offer Pandora control in 10 Ford vehicles and two Lincoln vehicles, up from five Fords and one Lincoln. The current Ford/Lincoln models are the 2011 Fiesta and 2012 models of Fusion, Fusion Hybrid, Ford Mustang, Shelby GT500 and Lincoln MKZ. This fall, Ford will add the 2012 F-150, F-Series Super Duty, Expedition, E-Series, F-150 SVT Raptor and Lincoln Navigator. At Scion, the company will offer Pandora control in the xB in mid-July and the tC RS 7.0 in August.

Currently, Pandora service is also integrated in select BMWs, Mercedes-Benz vehicles and Minis. Other automakers that have announced plans to integrate Pandora include Buick, Chevrolet, GMC, Hyundai and Toyota, Pandora noted. The personalized Internet radio service is also available in aftermarket head units made by Alpine, JVC, Kenwood and Pioneer, with radios from Sony coming soon, Pandora said.

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