• Works with smartphones to deliver content to the vehicle.
  • Eliminates interaction with hand-held devices while driving.
  • Includes Aha by Harman, allowing access to Facebook, Yelp! and Twitter.

Honda announced a new, cloud-based infotainment system that works with smartphones to deliver news, music and web content to vehicles. Called HondaLink, the technology will debut on the upcoming 2013 Accord.

Honda says the system is engineered to minimize distracted driving by allowing users to access the capabilities of hand-held devices through the vehicle instead of through the device itself. HondaLink includes an app called Aha by Harman that offers thousands of online services, from cloud-based music platforms like Slacker to social media like Facebook.

Users can access their favorite content-whether that's music or comedy, news feeds, or even audio books-by using voice command or via the steering wheel-mounted or in-dash controls. Using the Aha app for iPhone or Android devices, drivers preset their favorites to minimize searching and loading content while driving. The device connects to the vehicle using a USB connection or wirelessly with Bluetooth.

HondaLink will also read social media content aloud, so drivers can keep up with friends without looking away from the road. Facebook and Twitter are among the services included, although functionality is limited to minimize distraction. Services like Yelp! can help drivers find restaurants nearby, then automatically port the address into the vehicle's navigation system. Vicki Poponi, American Honda's assistant vice president of product planning, says the system is simple to use.

"HondaLink will enable customers to put away their phone and still stay connected to the people, music and media they love," said Poponi. "By creating an intuitive and customizable user interface, HondaLink allows drivers to access digital content as easily as choosing a radio station."

The Fit EV, which begins leasing this week, includes a version of HondaLink specifically tailored to the electric vehicle. It provides drivers with information about battery levels and controls charging systems when the driver is away from the car. The HondaLink system with Aha will come to the Fit EV later, first appearing on the top trim levels of the new, ninth-generation 2013 Accord.

What it means to you: In-car infotainment systems increasingly rely on drivers' smartphones to connect with cloud-based services, from navigation to entertainment. HondaLink, which arrives on the new 2013 Accord, will continue the trend.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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