What’s the best way to bring stuff from the web into the car? A bevy of companies are working on answers to that question. Aha, a startup that is now part of stereo giant Harman, has one of the most intriguing answers: Treat it like radio.
Aha’s platform collects audio content such as music and podcasts from an array of online sources. Using your internet-connected phone for connectivity, it streams these offerings onto car radios that treat the web as a “fourth band,” alongside AM, FM and satellite. The radios give all the sources one consistent interface for simplicity’s sake. And the fact that Aha aggregates so much material means that hardware makers can offer a rich selection of content without having to strike separate deals with individual music services and other providers.
Aha first shipped on a Pioneer in-dash unit last year. But here at CES in Las Vegas, the company unveiled several new deals that should help bring much more content to many more drivers in the months to come. It said that it’s working with Honda and Subaru to bring the Aha service to some of their 2013 model year vehicles. Kenwood will also offer Aha-powered radios.
Between plans announced at CES and other recent deals, Aha has said it plans to deliver content from CBS Radio, MOG, NPR, Rhapsody, Slacker and other broadcasters and online streamers; once it’s begun offering channels from all of them, it says, the breadth of audio available to Aha listeners will go from hundreds of stations to tens of thousands of them.
If you don’t end buying an Aha-ready Honda or Subura or one of Kenwood’s or Pioneer’s radios, it’s still possible to get a taste of the service. It’s available as an iPhone app, and the company says that more ambitions phone versions are in the works for both iOS and Android.