Aha Radio’s Plans for Car Radio

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You probably know that you can tap on the screen of two new Pioneer radios and get Aha Radio. It gets you audio Facebook and Twitter updates and more as you drive.

Aha Radio on PioneerAha Radio also plans to deliver Internet radio through the buttons on future car radios. A few years ago, radio makers would reassign buttons to control a CD changer or Satellite Radio. Soon, those buttons will be seamlessly tagged to Internet Radio stations, and they’ll permit scrolling through Internet Radio stations and podcasts, said Aha Radio’s Robert Acker, a former XM Radio VP of product development.

Pioneer’s been shipping radios with the service for a month now. Acker says Facebook seems to be the initial killer app in the service.

In about 12 months, multiple car makers and aftermarket radio suppliers will also offer Aha Radio, said Acker. Audiovox told us it was actively discussing adding it.

Aha Radio takes Facebook, Twitter, Yelp! and real time traffic and converts them to audio and also video. So your friend’s Facebook photo can pop up on the screen as you hear his post.

The user downloads Aha Radio’s app on his phone and then plugs the phone into the radio. Then Aha Radio becomes another “source” like AM, FM or Satellite Radio.

So how many Pioneer customers actually use the new service? Aha Radio said only, “We’re seeing a good attachment rate and there hasn’t been a lot of advertising yet. The first round of advertising goes out in June and July,” said Chia-Lin Simmons, Aha Radio VP marketing and content.

In the future, Aha Radio will also add personalized music services, more social network services and more podcasts. The service was founded in 2008 as Aha Mobile and acquired by Harman International last September.

You can see a video of how it works on a Pioneer radio here:

Pioneer’s AVIC Z130BT ($1,200) and AVIC-X930BT ($800) work with Aha Radio via an iPhone.

Source: CEoutlook

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