Toyota Puts Wheels in Motion on New Mobile Multimedia System

So far it’s been a big first week in this new year for automakers who dabble in the mobile space. Following AT&T’s announcement on Monday that it will wirelessly deliver an enhanced suite of “safety and infotainment” services to future BMW models, Toyota joined the mobile party to herald the arrival of something called Entune.

Entune is described by Toyota as a system leveraging the customer’s mobile phone to create a rich in-vehicle experience that offers fully integrated and upgradeable entertainment, navigation, and information services. “By utilizing conversational voice recognition and in-vehicle controls,” Toyota says, “the driver doesn’t have to touch their mobile phone, allowing for safer connectivity.”

After downloading the Toyota Entune mobile application and pairing a Bluetooth capable phone with their Toyota vehicle, customers can plunge head first into the personalized content and services available. According to Toyota, Entune is wirelessly upgradeable, so in-vehicle applications are safe from becoming “obsolete.” Wisely, Toyota was mindful to make the new technology as accessible as possible. For this reason, the Entune app will be compatible with a wide variety of mobile phones with a data plan – Android, Blackberry, iPhone, etc.

In addition to serving up no shortage of practical safety features, like Automatic Collision notification, Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance, Emergency Assistance, and Roadside Assistance, a significant amount of buzz is being generated about the entertainment and communication-related components that are part of the Entune suite. They include: Bing, iheartradio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable.com, and Pandora, to name a few.

Also tossed into the mix are various location-based services, like personalized traffic, fuel prices, stocks, weather, and sports. There’s even support for read-back and replay capabilities for text messages. These features complement a fully featured entertainment system, which serves up the likes of XM radio, HD Radio, CD player, USB connectivity, Bluetooth streaming and phonebook.

Entune, which is going to be featured prominently at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, will be available in select vehicles beginning this year.