Ferndale, Mich. – Livio, the supplier of Internet-radio products for
the home and car audio aftermarket, struck an agreement with a key Bluetooth
chip maker to bring more Internet radio services to more factory sound systems
at a faster pace, the company contended.
U.K.-based CSR, a major supplier
of Bluetooth chips to automakers, has incorporated Livio middleware into its
Bluetooth chips, enabling factory head units to use Bluetooth to control many
features on select Internet radio apps installed on Android, BlackBerry and Apple
smartphones, said Livio brand manager Nicole Yelland. The smartphones in turn
would stream Internet radio stations and services via stereo Bluetooth to the
vehicle’s OEM sound system.
The middleware accelerates time
to market because it makes it unnecessary for each Internet-radio app company
to work with each automaker to develop an Internet radio solution, she
said. The middleware “will allow
automakers to get apps safely into the car through software features in chips
that already power a majority of built-in Bluetooth systems on the road today,”
added Livio CEO Jake Sigal.
The middleware supports control and streaming
of 10 different Internet radio services, including the Livio Car Internet Radio
app, which provides access to 45,000 Internet radio stations. Other supported
Internet radio services include 977 Music, AccuRadio, Digitally Imported,
Grooveshark, and Live 365.
With the middleware, automakers
can use factory head units to control more Internet radio functions wirelessly
than they could with Bluetooth’s AVRC (audio video remote control) profile,
Yelland said. “What we’re doing with CSR builds upon AVRC capabilities in that
you have Bluetooth, but we add in more benefits [control features] with this
chipset, like being able to launch an app.” Drivers could also use the head
unit to search for songs by genre, she added.
Bluetooth AVRC, in contrast, allows for head
unit control of basic smartphone-app functions, such as track up/down and
CSR’s chips are in 65 percent of vehicles sold
with factory-installed Bluetooth, Yelland said. CSR’s chips also appear in
consumer electronics products such as Bluetooth stereo headphones. Livio’s
middleware is now also available in those chips.
In another development, Livio plans December
availability of a Bluetooth-equipped car kit that streams the Grooveshark
on-line music service from an Android smartphone to any car radio. The $119-suggested kit, which will be
available through Grooveshark’s web site, consists of a controller mounted to a
stalk that plugs into a vehicle’s cigarette lighter. The controller uses
Livio’s Bluetooth middleware to wirelessly control many of the functions of
Grooveshark’s Internet radio app for Android phones. The phone streams
Grooveshark music from the Internet and sends it over stereo Bluetooth to the
controller, which in turn converts the music to an FM RDS signal for playback
through the vehicle’s FM radio.
Grooveshark’s subscription service lets users
select songs for playback on demand by title, artist and album.
From the Grooveshark controller,
users can launch the Internet radio app, skips among presets, control
play/pause, browse playlists in the cloud, skip songs on a playlist, and add
songs to a favorites list.
The Grooveshark kit is similar to Livio’s own
$119-suggested Internet radio car kit, which streams 45,000 Internet radio
stations via Bluetooth to a vehicle’s FM radio from an iPhone. On the Livio
kit, users can hit a swipe button to get Livio’s app to recommend a similar
station. Livio’s kit, which became available earlier this year, is sold through
such retailers as RadioShack and Amazon.