iTunes tagging comes to cars

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The Independent Tech

US automaker Ford has announced that its cars are to feature iTunes tagging from 2010, allowing radio-listeners to "bookmark" songs on the go for download later.

The tagging technology, which first appeared on the fifth generaton iPod Nano (released in 2009), will mean that drivers can push a button whilst in motion to automatically store the track name and artist of the song currently playing on the radio. Up to 100 tags can be stored, before an iPod must be connected to download the data and synced to iTunes. Listeners can then preview and purchase songs from the iTunes store.

The technology relies on HD radio, a digital radio format that is only available in the US which delivers near-CD quality audio on FM, or FM quality on AM bands. Ford claims that nearly 2,000 radio stations in the US currently broadcast in digital HD Radio and 85 percent of the US population is served by an HD-capable station, although satellite radio has proved more popular in cars to date.

Ford will also offer terrestrial radio, Sirius Satellite Radio, and internet radio through a Bluetooth audio-capable smartphone in its 2010 product lineup. It has not confirmed plans for the system outside of the US, possibly due to the incompatabilities in digital broadcasting systems. iTunes tagging is currently only available on one radio station in Europe.

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