Japanese car giant unveils connected entertainment system

Toyota has taken aim at Ford's SYNC in-car entertainment system, unveiling its new multimedia system Entune at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The in-car system uses a Bluetooth connection to the vehicle to make apps and services available on the car's screen, bringing some of the functionality seen from Ford and General Motors' OnStar into Toyota vehicles.

Toyota says that its new system offers the largest selection of mobile apps, launching the product with Microsoft's Bing, iheartradio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable.com and the Pandora internet radio service (which Ford launched around this time last year).

Other apps include real time traffic updates, fuel prices, weather, stock prices and sports.

The automaker also claims that Entune offers industry-leading conversational voice recognition, meaning that drivers don't need to touch their handsets or learn specific voice commands to control Entune while driving.

While Audi and Ford have opted for Google Mapping technology in their in-car systems, Toyota chose Bing, an alliance which could dramatically increase the public's brand awareness of the search engine - Toyota is the US' third-largest automaker and sold some 1.77 million vehicles in 2009.

Entune will roll out to select Toyota vehicles this year, the company confirmed January 4, although it did not confirm geographic availability.

The Consumer Electronics Show opens to the public January 6 in Las Vegas.

http://www.cesweb.org

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