Subaru's latest infotainment update is for birdwatchers (and the rest of us)

Plus seven more apps of likely greater utility.

Subaru definitely knows its audience, as evidenced by its dog-centric commercials and charitable contributions. So we weren't shocked to learn that its latest infotainment upgrade allows drivers to better track bird sightings from behind the wheel, but we are a bit curious. The eBird integration is one of eight new cloud-based apps being added to the Starlink infotainment system for 2017.

Subaru drivers can use the infotainment system to display info from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology through eBird, info on sightings and an interactive coach to help get to where the birds are. (There's a cloud-based joke in there somewhere.) Most of the other new apps involve location tracking or proximity to some degree as well, including Yelp (to find food and business reviews), Glympse (which lets you share your location with friends), Best Parking (to find somewhere to put your car), RightTrack (a product from Liberty Mutual to track drivers for insurance discounts), eventseeker (which steers you toward local happenings), and Magellan NAVI (a cloud-based navigation system). There's also a digital version of the car's owner's manual available in the Quick Guide app.

All are free to use, with the exception of the Magellan app, which is included free with the 2017 Impreza for three years. That car's infotainment system comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, so unless you really prefer the Magellan interface, it's probably best to stick with whatever's on your phone. The new Starlink apps are available on 2017 Imprezas as well as 2016 and 2017 BRZ models, and they'll show up on other Subaru models soon. The functionality requires an iOS or Android phone running Subaru's Starlink app and paired with the vehicle to provide the data connection.

Put it all together and you can find some birds, get a parking spot nearby, let your friends know where you've gone off to, grab a bite to eat nearby (not poultry, of course), attend a local event, then hop back in the car and figure out how to tune the radio and find your way home, all the while lowering your insurance payment. Isn't the connected world wonderful?

Related Video:

Share This Photo X