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Toyota’s Entune raises the stakes for Radio Online and on the Road

Here’s a peek at Toyota’s new Entune in-dash entertainment system, which includes Pandora, iheartradio, local search, movie tickets, dinner reservations, and a whole lot more – all powered by an app you download to your mobile device and driven by your phone’s data plan.

Interestingly, Radio Ink reports that the system includes HD Radio and SiriusXM, too, but it’s telling that those assets are nowhere to be found in Toyota’s promotional video or on the Entune page of its website.  Does that suggest that these assets are either too fuzzy or too non-compelling to merit a full frontal pitch?  You bet it does.

That doesn’t mean they won’t be used, of course.  Just that they won’t be used to sell cars.

As I and others have been arguing for some time, the entry of digital audio to the dashboard is going to come from the device built into your pocket and facilitated by what’s built into the car.  And this is only one of the first steps – look for these services to become ever-more personalized to that device in your pocket as time goes by.  The dash will morph depending on who’s driving.

Finally, consider the consequences for your station when the choices in the car expand exponentially, including a virtually built-in Pandora.

For years broadcasters have been obsessing over the gadget in their pocket.

Along the way, some forgot to obsess over the one in their driveway.

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