Honda let the cat officially out of the bag today, revealing details about its new HondaLink infotainment system that will be featured in the new 2013 Accord. The new midsize sedan doesn't launch until the fall, but the Japanese automaker is clearly eager to start building momentum for its long-awaited new model by addressing one of the company's long-running deficiencies: connectivity.

HondaLink will feature Aha Radio, a cloud-based digital content service that uses the driver's smart phone data connection for streaming through the vehicle's audio system. The interface uses a radio station model, with users creating content presets. Besides music, news, podcasts and other traditional audio content, Aha will allow drivers to listen to Facebook and Twitter feeds.

While the video Honda released today plays more like a commercial than a tutorial, we're looking forward to getting our hands on the system. The big question is whether it can vault Honda to the front of the mainstream infotainment pack, or merely put them where Ford was three years ago.

Scroll down to watch the video and read the full press release.

Show full PR text
New Cloud-Based HondaLink™ Connected Car System Helps Drivers Put Away Their Phones While Maintaining Intuitive Access to Their Favorite Media

HondaLink™ provides first-ever OEM application of Aha™, delivering robust digital content via preset smartphone app

July 18, 2012

TORRANCE

Honda today unveiled HondaLink™, a new in-vehicle connectivity system that will debut this fall on the all-new, ninth-generation 2013 Honda Accord. Featuring the first automotive OEM application of Aha™ by Harman, HondaLink will provide a personalized experience connecting drivers to thousands of cloud-based news, information and entertainment feeds from around the world, using an intuitive, audio-system based interface.

"HondaLink will enable customers to put away their phone and still stay connected to the people, music and media they love," said Vicki Poponi, assistant vice president of product planning for American Honda. "By creating an intuitive and customizable user interface, HondaLink allows drivers to access digital content as easily as choosing a radio station."

Honda's intuitive new HondaLink smartphone application allows owners to preset content on their phone. Once in the car, consumers can enjoy personalized content accessible via voice recognition, steering-wheel mounted controls and in-dash audio system controls. With a tethered smartphone serving as a conduit to a wealth of cloud-based media, HondaLink creates a unique, connected driving experience.

"Honda's strategy is about leveraging the cloud to bring a wealth of new information and services to Honda owners," said Charles Koch, American Honda manager of new business development. "This is the next evolution of the connected car and the connected customer."

Through the Aha service, for example, HondaLink users can listen to Facebook and Twitter audio newsfeeds, podcasts from NPR, location-based personalized restaurant listings from Yelp!, and access internet music services such as Slacker. The service is free and instantly accessible from the cloud.

Aha delivers a user-friendly experience requiring infrequent smartphone software updates, with in-vehicle content and channel access updating simply and automatically throughout the vehicle life. And content available from HondaLink will grow as the system continues to expand its services for Honda owners. HondaLink will also incorporate Pandora internet radio and voice-to-text SMS text services with pre-programmed responses, which Honda introduced on the 2012 CR-V.

HondaLink EV

The HondaLink family also includes HondaLink EV, specifically designed for the all-new Fit EV all-electric vehicle and the upcoming Accord Plug-In Hybrid. Owners of these electric vehicles will have access to unique applications designed specifically to maintain connectivity to their vehicle. The HondaLink EV application will allow the user to remotely view the state of charge, initiate charging, and activate the air conditioning and heater to pre-condition the vehicle while connected to the grid to maximize battery range on start-up. HondaLink EV will launch with the Fit EV, which will be available for lease in California and Oregon beginning on July 20, 2012.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 52 Comments
      Greg
      • 2 Years Ago
      Facebook in your car is bad, and they should feel bad.
      carguy1701
      • 2 Years Ago
      To hell with infotainment, make the cars acceptable first.
      Drakkon
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just in time for no more unlimited data! What an idea. Here's a great new idea that you can pay extra every month to use! What next? A dash app that with auto-dial 1-900 numbers?
      Walt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Fact: Ford leads, others follow.
        waetherman
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Walt
        Ahem: http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2012/06/ford-expects-poor-quality-scores-in-j-d-power-quality-survey.html
          Walt
          • 2 Years Ago
          @waetherman
          Still doesn't change the fact that Ford's system was first. And the rest will be working out the bugs while Ford's system has been perfected. Ford leads, the rest follow.
          Walt
          • 2 Years Ago
          @waetherman
          Really? Honda had in car navigation? When did the Japanese send all those GPS satellites into orbit? LOL!
        blatinotop4u
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Walt
        Honda was the first to even have technology in cars...(Navigation) Ford is a follower.
          noobTypeR
          • 2 Years Ago
          @blatinotop4u
          WRONG. Honda was not the first to have navigation in cars http://jesda.com/2012/01/11/how-in-dash-navigation-worked-in-1992-olds-was-first/
      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      What the hell is this garbage? So its just streaming data off of your existing phone. Big goddamn deal. That's been something that has been doable for folks with a smartphone for years now. Hell, it was a cool feature back when most people have unlimited data. Now, I don't want to stream things off the cloud... our cellphone service providers have pretty much killed that feature with data caps and tiered data rates. So Honda basically is introducing something that most of us have already been doing for years now? Honda if your next-gen Accord is this behind the times, I am going to start worrying about you.
      Jamie Elmhirst
      • 2 Years Ago
      Call me a luddite, I think the level of "connectivity" in cars these days is ridiculous. If you need your Twitter feed read to you while your driving, you need therapy. And the rest of us probably need better insurance. At some point the mountain of evidence on the evils of distracted driving is going to run headlong into all this and government regulators are going to step in. Enjoy it while it lasts I suppose.
        Gubbins
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jamie Elmhirst
        +1
        derekwilkinson
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jamie Elmhirst
        Seriously, how the hell can it be legal to put on makeup, eat, use facebook, use twitter, but some places are trying to make it illegal to use a handsfree phone...
      kyle
      • 2 Years Ago
      OH MY FREAKING GOD CAN THE IDIOT POPULATION NOT FREEAKING LIVE WITHOUT FACEBOOK AND TWITTER LONG ENOUGH TO DRIVE FROM PLACE TO PLACE ANYMORE?????????? seriously this is god damn absurd. cars are becoming filled with so much unnecessary technocrap it drives me absofreakinglutely insane! i'm sticking with my mazda 3 which has no "infotainment" save for a radio. my infotainment comes from shifting gears, if i want to access the internet on my iphone (which does everything this technocrap does and more) i have it in me to wait until i safely arrive at my destination to do so.
      jonnybimmer
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is just garbage stacked on garbage. Maybe as a twenty something I'm out of Honda's intended customer base, but all I want from a car's entertainment system is to play MY music (not some top-hits radio BS) and handle a call here and there. You know what did those things perfectly in my old car? A freaking cassette adapter. Stop trying to pile commercialized crap that no one needs and let us just drive in peace!
        ELG
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jonnybimmer
        so just keep driving your 1992 civic to occupy rallies then. not sure what you are whining about, nobody is forcing you to use it.
      ELG
      • 2 Years Ago
      about time Honda. Mazda, you're next. No excuses anymore, the next 6 better have something that kicks butt (or at least keeps up)
      Twittavelli
      • 2 Years Ago
      **** THAT!!!!!! Where's the new Accord already. The compettition is fierce and honda is way late to the party.
      FIDTRO
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sooooo instead of upgrading their boring products, they've introduced an infotainment system that's disappointing at best? Well done Honda, well done.
      starryknight936
      • 2 Years Ago
      Honda SHOULD revise their warranties to include maintenance and roadside assistance with at least 2 year coverage, similar to ToyotaCare program...this HondaLink rubbish is tired tech which proves that this kind of feature is too little/ too late, for this car brand. Peace!<-AladdinSane-
        zoom_zoom_zoom
        • 2 Years Ago
        @starryknight936
        When a car company is having a hard time moving product, they resort to big warranties and freebies. Honda doesn't need to do that.
          carguy1701
          • 2 Years Ago
          @zoom_zoom_zoom
          Uh, yeah, they do. Honda has been running incentives on the Civic and Accord for the last few weeks: the former because of all the bad press the car has received, the latter because its about to be replaced and they need to clear the lots.
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