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TuneIn Internet radio enters the auto market

John Day

John Day

Posted Jun 16, 2011
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Have you tried TuneIn (formerly known as RadioTime)? If it has flown under your metaphorical radar, as it did mine, it’s a free (or $0.99 for the premium version) smartphone and/or Internet radio service that provides access to more than 50,000 FM, AM and Internet radio stations around the world. That’s content in 173 languages and user interface support for more than 20.

I saw the service demoed in a BMW by TuneIn founder and CEO Bill Moore at Telematics Update Detroit earlier this month. It’s impressive, as befits a service that’s been in development for nearly a decade and ranks at or near the top of app store download lists.

A user can browse local radio; search for artists, DJs, musical genres, talk show hosts, or sports programming, or search for stations by location.  Here’s your chance to listen to hometown radio, specialty programming, shows you may have missed, or whatever else might be of interest.

TuneIn is arguably the most advanced Internet radio service currently available, at least in terms of the number of stations it makes available, which leads to the obvious questions, when will it be available in cars, and how easy is it to use with minimal driver distraction. As Moore concedes, people listen to radio most often in their cars.

It’s available in BMW and Mini vehicles now, or should be soon, and TuneIn is actively marketing the service to other automakers. Moore says prospects are interested, but declines to be more specific. There does not appear to be a “seek” function able to skim through 50,000 stations but it is hard to imagine why any sane person would want one. Serious browsing is best done by a passenger or when the vehicle is stationary, but presets are available similar to those common in car radios for decades.

Have you found a favorite Internet radio service? Do you have Internet radio in your car?

Mini, RadioTime, Telematics Update Detroit, TuneIn

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News (johndayautomotivelectronics.com) to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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