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Old Jan 23, 2014, 02:51 PM   #1
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HondaLink Offers Partial Car-iPhone Integration Ahead of Apple's 'iOS in the Car' Initiative




While Apple's upcoming iOS in the Car functionality has been gaining significant attention, some automakers have been developing their own systems to allow for greater integration between iPhones and vehicles.

Back in December, Honda announced new HondaLink apps and functionality to allow iOS devices to integrate with the new 2014 Civic and upcoming 2015 Fit, and MacRumors recently sat down with a Honda representative to walk through the system that offers solid integration for several features but unsurprisingly does not yet achieve the vision of iOS in the Car.

The HondaLink experience for iOS arrives in the form of four App Store apps: a Connect app that serves as the hub for passing information such as weather, location searches, and Honda service information from the iPhone to the car, an Aha app that offers an interface to the streaming music service, a Launcher app that will allow approved third-party apps to interface with HondaLink, and a $59.99 Navigation app that offers turn-by-turn GPS navigation powered by Nokia's HERE services.

Users connect their devices to the HondaLink system through a setup that requires Apple's Lightning Digital AV Adapter and then HDMI and Lightning-to-USB cables to connect to ports on the car's dash. An initial pairing process is required on first connection, but subsequent connections are simply plug and play unless authorization for a new app is required.

In many ways, HondaLink feels like a traditional in-dash system with navigation and music capabilities, but in this case it all runs through the iPhone, integrating Aha, Pandora, and iTunes library music services with GPS navigation and phone services. The system also supports Siri Eyes Free mode, allowing users to interact with their devices without taking their eyes off the road.

Running everything through the user's iPhone offers a number of benefits, most notably with the navigation services. While it does require an upfront $59.99 purchase for the app, Honda is able to remotely push map updates and deliver other updates to the service free of charge through the App Store. Many built-in navigation services require regular paid software upgrades to ensure up-to-date map coverage, with updates being offered relatively infrequently.

In our testing, the points-of-interest database and navigation functionalities performed well, and with the navigation software running directly on the iPhone users can preload routes before they even get to their cars, simply plugging in their devices and activating navigation to have the route ready to go. The navigation app also automatically marks the vehicle's location when the car is turned off, a helpful feature for those who occasionally forget where they have parked.

Integration with music services was also smooth, with the ability to easily switch between services such as Pandora and Aha and perform all of the usual functions such as selecting stations, controlling playback, and rating songs.

While the HondaLink platform currently supports traditional in-car functions like navigation, music, and phone calls, the Launcher app structure opens the door to other third-party apps. Honda has so far declined to announce any such apps, but noted to MacRumors that such apps will have to undergo an approval process in order to ensure adequate safeguards against driver distraction and that they meet other standards for integrating with HondaLink.

Clearly many Apple fans are holding out hope for a true iOS in the Car experience, where familiar user interface elements and functionality will find a home on car dashboards, but even if iOS support for the feature arrives soon it is likely to be some time before iOS in the Car becomes widely available. In the meantime, the new HondaLink offers some of those same conveniences as a welcome addition for iPhone owners.

Article Link: HondaLink Offers Partial Car-iPhone Integration Ahead of Apple's 'iOS in the Car' Initiative
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 02:55 PM   #2
Menel
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4 different apps to manage, to cobble together a in-car system.

No thanks.

I want it all native and seamless. When I crank my 4Runner with a Pioneer 8?00BH. Bluetooth automatically pairs, signal strength and battery indicator is on the display.

If I receive a call, it's ready. Phone doesn't have to leave pocket.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 02:56 PM   #3
ninjadex
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That UI certainly isn't doing the Honda brand any justice. No thanks.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 02:57 PM   #4
naltimar
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Software update for existing models (2013 Civic)?

Does anyone know if a software/firmware update will be made available to recent model Honda owners? I already have basic phone integration through BT in my 2013 Civic. Seems like it could be possible that Honda may have updates available - other manufacturers often have software updates for phone compatibility.

fingers crossed

-Naltimar
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 02:59 PM   #5
Menel
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The navigation app also automatically marks the vehicle's location when the car is turned off, a helpful feature for those who occasionally forget where they have parked.
You can add that to any car with http://www.automatic.com/
Uses iBeacon API, runs in the background, again without iPhone leaving your pocket to background link and send the data.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 03:03 PM   #6
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The HondaLink app also works with the Pioneer AppRadio.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 03:04 PM   #7
chicagohoops
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It's far from what it could be, but it is far better than anything else.

I wish Mazda had this.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 03:04 PM   #8
OldSchoolMacGuy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Menel View Post
4 different apps to manage, to cobble together a in-car system.

No thanks.

I want it all native and seamless. When I crank my 4Runner with a Pioneer 8?00BH. Bluetooth automatically pairs, signal strength and battery indicator is on the display.

If I receive a call, it's ready. Phone doesn't have to leave pocket.
I do the same with my AppRadio 3. The advantage with the AppRadio is that I can also connect it to a Lightning cable, charge, and control the iPhone screen from the dash screen. Angry Birds on the 7" if you like. Great for Waze and easy control of Pandora.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 03:06 PM   #9
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Let's all say it together, most in-car UI is atrocious!
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 03:06 PM   #10
KanosWRX
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Just give us a API so any app can display on the screen if the developer wants it to.. Then we don't have to worry about anything, car makers should just give us a dumb screen instead of trying to develop all these horrible apps. And why Nokia Here on a iphone??? Why not the Apple Maps or even better Google Maps?? This is why we just need a "dumb" screen that can take inputs from the phone and leave all the processing on the phone itself..
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 03:11 PM   #11
rweavere
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Although I like the idea of iOS integration, I am not a fan of touch screen displays built into cars. With a touch screen you have to look at where you are touching but with physical buttons you can just feel around to push the buttons and keep your eyes on the road.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 03:12 PM   #12
Illusion986
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Wow Honda that is a Fail! App for this app for that another app for that....geez
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 03:27 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by OldSchoolMacGuy View Post
I do the same with my AppRadio 3. The advantage with the AppRadio is that I can also connect it to a Lightning cable, charge, and control the iPhone screen from the dash screen. Angry Birds on the 7" if you like. Great for Waze and easy control of Pandora.
This didn't work last time I played with appradio in the store...? It seemed hokey.

To this day, even Pioneers official website, only shows using their apps. http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PU...o+3+(SPH-DA210)
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 03:36 PM   #14
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I have to use 4 different apps, can't use my own phone's Maps app, and have to plug a stupid, unwieldy cable into the phone every time I get in the car.

LAME, lame, lame.

Ios in the Car, Honda! No cable, please go wireless.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 03:46 PM   #15
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Pretty soon there will be so many things to do in a car that we won't have to pay attention to that BORING driving anymore.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 04:04 PM   #16
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This is horrible. I'll wait for the real thing, thanks Honda.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 04:10 PM   #17
Keerock
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Like Toyota Entune

Seems to be just like my Toyota Entune and I can tell you from my experience with my Prius, it is really annoying and not helpful. Other than allowing traffic to show on my Nav overlays, it is useless. I would rather use Siri and just talk to my phone directly rather than look over and use a touch screen which is essentially just a duplicate a few select apps on my phone, only they are bastard versions with a terrible substitute UI...
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 04:48 PM   #18
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You are being pretty hard on Honda considering they are trying to work around the constraints that apple has put on them so far.

There is a big difference between pairing via BT for handsfree phone/iPod and mirroring the screen for maps and UI. I highly doubt that iOS in the car is going to be a wireless connection. Using the phones GPS and cell connection is going to use a lot of power - do you want to drive for 2 hours and arrive with a dead battery?

Second, sure its an ugly UI, but it looks similar to the one in my 2013 accord and it works well. Its an 8" screen 3 feet from your face that you have to look at while driving in traffic. It has to be large, simple text for you to be able to read it.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 07:42 PM   #19
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What's with the "partial" part?

That dashboard UI is plain horrible. And to be fair, ALL in-car UI are horrible looks like designed by 9 y.o kid. Don't understand why they wouldn't put a little bit more effort for it? Please?

Pay the license, let Apple do its magic with full iOS integration/mirroring. Get updates straight from Apple with custom Honda apps as sideloads.

Or pay for a decent UI engineer, like Tesla did. Stupid car manufacturers.
Oh and one more, put a decent display for the dashboard please? High resolution IPS display is inexpensive nowadays. Stop being so cheap.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 08:14 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Menel View Post
This didn't work last time I played with appradio in the store...? It seemed hokey.

To this day, even Pioneers official website, only shows using their apps. http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PU...o+3+(SPH-DA210)
Only the supported apps work from the factory. Jailbreak the iPhone and install Appradio Extension and you can do it with any app. Not that there is really a ton outside of Waze, Pandora, and a couple others you wanna run on it. I might be neat to show friends that you can play Angry Birds or whatever on it but you'll never really use that. I just stick to GPS and music programs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c79lraqO9cE

I also have DashCommand with my OBD-II Bluetooth. Can monitor all kinds of stuff.



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Old Jan 23, 2014, 09:43 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by k2director View Post
I have to use 4 different apps, can't use my own phone's Maps app, and have to plug a stupid, unwieldy cable into the phone every time I get in the car.

LAME, lame, lame.

Ios in the Car, Honda! No cable, please go wireless.
And eat up your iPhone battery in the process?
I'm fine with plugging in my phone in my car. But they can at least make a special dock to snug the iPhone fit and securely.

And from that dock it can do many things. Charging, navigation, car data exchange, iOS mirroring or direct integration. All in all I'm agree with you. Put a 100% iOS in my car!

But I think wireless system do more harm than good. Latency, lag, interferences, and battery power.
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Old Jan 23, 2014, 10:20 PM   #22
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I thought navigation was a complimentary feature in most cars these days?
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Old Jan 24, 2014, 01:46 AM   #23
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Is it just me or does the iphone in that first picture look huge?
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Old Jan 24, 2014, 02:40 AM   #24
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Good idea...

Why should Apple get all the glory ....

However. be all end all, its not for older cars......
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Old Jan 24, 2014, 03:04 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by ninjadex View Post
That UI certainly isn't doing the Honda brand any justice. No thanks.
Exactly my first impression!

Who are they hiring to do these UIs and how much are they paying them? I mean a 12 year old kid could do better design! My goodness!!!
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