Mobile phones (or other devices) are often the scapegoats for a host of evils behind the wheel, but that's not stopping the industry from pushing ever-higher levels of integration, and Entune is Toyota's latest stab at the goal. With mobile apps, Internet radio and more, it's a deep stab, too.
You're probably already familiar with the company's Enform telematics system, and Entune builds on that layer to add a different set of features. In addition to mobile apps that let you make restaurant reservations, book movie tickets, or check real-time traffic, fuel prices, and weather, Entune uses a voice recognition system to reduce the amount of time the driver's hands aren't on the wheel.
That doesn't necessarily equate to more attention on the road, but Toyota's pitching it that way. "[U]nlike other industry solutions, Entune allows the driver to interact with informative and entertaining mobile content without fumbling with their phone. We offer features that our customers demand and integrate them seamlessly in the vehicle," said Jon Bucci, vice president of advanced technology at Toyota.
The first vehicles equipped with Entune will hit dealers later this year. We'll have to wait to get hands-on with the system to see how it measures up to the current industry standard (particularly Ford's SYNC system) but for now, we have the full press release on page two.