If you haven't heard of Aha radio, get used to hearing the name, especially if you're in the market for a new car.
Essentially an aggregator of entertainment and information options from the Internet, Aha lets users pick and choose from their assortment of 30,000 radio stations, podcasts, traffic and weather information providers, nearby restaurant options, and more.
And Aha is coming soon to a car near you, if it isn't already there. Honda rolled out Aha on the 2013 Accord, with more models coming soon. Ford announced at CES that it has added Aha to its suite of Sync options, and Chrysler, Porsche, and Subaru have also climbed on the Aha bandwagon. In all, Aha says their product will be available through at least 10 different automakers soon, along with some aftermarket audio systems.
In Las Vegas this week, we sampled Aha in a Honda Accord and Porsche Cayenne. The service and related information blends seamlessly into the displays in both vehicles, just like choosing an AM, FM, or XM/Sirius. Aha stations can be added to the presets, making it easy to switch from your favorite Los Angeles rock station to the news from CNN, NPR, or others.
And the cost? Free, sort of. It does gobble bandwidth on your smart-phone data plan when on the road. (At home, the Aha app can stream via WiFi.) To drive revenue, Aha is using an advertising-supported business model, but there aren't many ads yet, so it's hard to say how pervasive they will be in the future. For now, a company rep said they're focused on getting the name and product out there. And the strategy appears to be working.
See our complete CES 2013 coverage.
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