Toyota’s ‘Entune’ Taps Your Phone for In-Car App Fun

Toyota
Toyota’s Entune system displaying the in-car apps menu on the in-dash touchscreen.
Toyota's Entune in-car "multi-media" system uses your smartphone or feature phone to deliver a variety of apps into the car, all controlled by the voice of the driver.

The Ensure system requires you to download an app to your phone, and then connects with your phone via a Bluetooth connection. The system then accesses a number of mobile apps, including mapping (Microsoft Bing), movie reservations (MovieTickets.com), restaurant reservations (OpenTable.com) and music apps (Pandora, iheartradio). Toyota says Entune also delivers customizable real time traffic, fuel prices, weather, stocks and sports.

The apps display on a large touchscreen built into the dash of the car. While the apps can be controlled using finger touches on the screen, the system also lets the driver interact with apps using voice commands, allowing the driver to keep his hands on the wheel and his eyes on the road. The driver can also use Entune to compose and play back text messages hands free.

You can see the system in action in this demo video.

Toyota points out that because the apps are delivered wirelessly to the phone and do not live in an in-car computer system, they can all be updated easily with a wireless download.

Toyota says the Entune system will work with "most smartphones and feature phones" but the company isn't saying exactly which ones right now.

Entune will be sold as an option in select Toyota models this year.

Check out PCWorld's compete coverage of CES 2011.

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