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.

For cars with plugs (the Fit EV and the upcoming Accord Plug-In Hybrid), there is HondaLink EV, which includes "unique applications designed specifically to maintain connectivity to their vehicle." You can probably guess what that means: ways to remotely see and control charging status, as well as the ability to pre-heat or pre-cool the cabin, so as to save battery energy. HondaLink EV launches tomorrow when Fit EV becomes available for lease in California and Oregon.

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


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.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      So all of like 1000 leasers will get to use this. :-/ Build & sell the car, Honda.
        • 8 Months Ago
        I'm wrong again. . . I assume the article was just about the Fit EV. It will be also be in the Accord plug-in. Which brings up the question . . . Accord plug-in? What do we know about this?!?!
          • 8 Months Ago
          The Accord could be the most important hybrid since the Volt, because unlike the Toyota Prius and Ford Energi models it will *only* come with a plug. @Chris M, Honda says "The 2013 Honda Accord PHEV uses an all-new, two-motor hybrid system which continuously moves through three different modes – all-electric, with an estimated 15 mile per charge range; gasoline-electric; and direct-drive". Back in June 2011 at the tech announcement Honda said "In all-electric mode, the vehicle uses a 6kWh lithium-ion battery and a powerful 120 kW electric motor" and "powered by a fuel-efficient 2.0-liter, i-VTEC® inline 4-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine and paired with an electric continuously variable transmission (E-CVT)." So it's not IMA and sounds awfully close to Toyota HSD. Back in 2011 Automotive News reported that testing continues and Honda might adjust features. Since then, to my knowledge Honda has said nothing of substance.
          Chris M
          • 8 Months Ago
          Not much, unfortunately. Don't know what style of hybrid Honda will be using, whether it will be a beefed up version of their old IMA hybrid, a "through the road" hybrid, or maybe a more sophisticated design integrated into the transmission like the Volt or Prius Plug-in. No hint yet on battery size, either. Since the official new model Accord launch is this fall, they might launch the plug-in version at the same time - or they might delay til next year.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      that's what we need, the cloud. not low weight, aerodynamics and cost optimization, nono. the cloud will fix global warming and peak oil all in one
      • 8 Months Ago
      Let me know when they add a pricetag to the Fit EV.
      • 8 Months Ago
      ***** the "infotainment systems" !! Take this electronic garbage out of cars for god's sake!
    Share This Photo X