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CES 2013: Chrysler Uconnect infotainment system adds apps, dealer-activated navigation

Consumer Reports News: January 07, 2013 06:08 PM

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Joining key competitors, Chrysler will soon add integrated Internet radio capability to its Uconnect infotainment systems.

Uconnect Access Via Mobile allows users to stream audio from their smart phone, using an existing data plan, into the infotainment system. Aha, iHeart Radio, Pandora Internet Radio, and Slacker Radio services work with the system, allowing song skipping, favorite stations, and other common controls to be accessed via the steering wheel and touch screen.

Each service has it own features, although they commonly have many stations to choose from and allow custom channels to be created. In addition, Aha provides Facebook and Twitter feeds, along with news, weather, and other information.

Chrysler has not announced which vehicles will be compatible, including distinguishing between current and future models.

Chrysler-Uconnect-navigation-CES.jpgHowever, backwards compatibility was given a glimmer of hope with Chrysler announcing that a new, voice-activated navigation system will be packaged in future models at the factory that can be later activated at the dealership. Because cars are coming with much of the hardware needed for a nav system already (think the large screen for Uconnect...), the navigation could be turned on, much like a smart-phone feature.

The nav system will include turn-by-turn directions, points of interesting, reality view, trip programming, and other common features. Chrysler expects dealer-activated navigation will have specific appeal to used-car buyers.

This nav system will launch with the 2013 Ram 1500 full-size pickup, SRT Viper, and the 2014 Fiat 500L.

See our complete CES 2013 coverage.

Jeff Bartlett

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