Pandora announced during the Los Angeles Auto Show yet another partnership with an automaker – this time, Japanese giant Honda - to include its interactive radio service in the coming CR-V model that will be available worldwide on December 15th.
The feature will enable Pandora listeners to access and listen to their personalized radios in their car, adding Honda to the service’s list of automotive partners that include, among others, BMW, Chrysler and Mercedes. Pandora’s in-car integration is not exactly new. However, with a total of 14 partners in the automotive industry, Pandora is paving the way for a new standard – Internet radio in connected cars.
Connected cars, not a fantasy anymore
To enjoy Pandora while driving, listeners need a smartphone that enables the connectivity between the CR-V model and the interactive radio service. In most cars, Pandora actually runs on a smartphone, but the driver can monitor the web app form the car’s Dashborad directly – “thumb up” or “thumb down” a song, skip a song, select another radio station, etc. They will also be able to build a profile on the service directly from their car, where most of the radio listening occurs. Also, earlier this year, Pandora launched co-branded radio stations especially curated for car drivers.
Internet radio in cars, a logical development
The boom of television moved radio consumption from the living room to the car. According to Jessica Steel, Pandora’s Executive Vice President of Business and Corporate development, half of the radio listening (50%) now takes place in the car. Therefore, bringing web radio to connected cars is a coherent move – connected cars becoming a place of salvation for internet radio and services like Pandora.
Drivers’ safety remains a challenge
Although connected cars are becoming more of a reality with Web apps integrations like Pandora’s, a lot of issues are still remain to be dealt with. While taking web apps from computer to mobile was rather frictionless, developing apps for the car environment is a whole other level. Among other things, safety is the most serious challenge. As RWW’s Richard MacManus explained, Pandora had to make sure the integration to cars was seamless for the driver not to be distracted.