Ford integrates iHeartRadio App into its vehicles

11 Jan 2012

Ford SYNC technology as shown on the dashboard of a Ford vehicle. Image courtesy of Ford

At CES 2012, Ford has today declared it’s the first automobile maker to introduce the digital radio streaming service iHeartRadio App, pioneered by Clear Channel Radio, into its vehicles via its SYNC technology. It’s the latest app announcement from the automaker, which is on a technology mission to make its vehicles become affordable sensory hubs.

Earlier this week, Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally and Ford CTO Paul Mascarenas gave a video interview to CES, after they had revealed the 2013 Fusion Hybrid, which will feature SYNC and MyTouch. They described future vehicles as the “ultimate mobile device”, with Ford aiming to bring such affordable technologies to car users globally.

The new Ford Focus with SYNC technology will be introduced to Europe in Q1 2012, while it will be available in Ireland in June 2012. Ford said the iHeartRadio smartphone app can be accessed using simple voice commands in the vehicles that now offer Ford SYNC with AppLink.

Opening up to app developers to spin out new platforms

But back to iHeartRadio, which works by streaming more than 850 of the most popular live broadcast and digital-only stations from 150 cities in the US. Just yesterday, the company behind the service, Clear Channel Radio, announced it would be opening up its API to third-party app developers. The aim, said Brian Lakamp, the company’s president, would be to augment the browser-based iHeartRadio service onto new platforms and devices.

The SYNC-enabled iHeartRadio app can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store and BlackBerry App World, while it is supposedly soon going to be gracing the Android Market.

Last September, iHeartRadio integrated with Facebook’s Open Graph platform to allow users of the social networking site to share their iHeartRadio activities on Timeline.

Making the announcement today, Ford Group said drivers who want to hear other stations similar to one they are already listening to can just say “recommend stations” or use the “my stations” command to listen to custom stations they have created or their favourite stations.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic