At this year's CES, Harman International's Aha announced a partnership with Honda. Today Honda hosted a conference showing how that partnership would play out with a new service called HondaLink. This new connected service will let drivers listen to a variety of Internet-based stations, featuring everything from Slacker radio to Yelp listings of nearby restaurants.
The new HondaLink app is essentially a rebranded version of the Aha app, although it integrates with the 2013 Honda Accord and Crosstour, along with future Honda vehicles. Aha serves up different types of Internet feeds as audio. Aha not only can play Internet radio stations, but also converts Facebook feeds to an audio stream.
Drivers will need to load the HondaLink app on either an iPhone or Android device and have it paired with the car through Bluetooth. The app delivers a driver's own Facebook news feed, including friends' status updates. It also uses the car's GPS location to find nearby restaurants for the Yelp feed.
Similar to the Aha app, the HondaLink app masks the Yelp service under stations called "Hungry" and "Coffee", which focus on restaurants and coffee shops respectively. HondaLink will not allow more general Yelp searches, and you can't use it to update your own Facebook status.
When listening to the Hungry or Coffee stations, drivers will be able to select a listing and have its address sent to the navigation system. The car's LCD will only show which HondaLink station is currently selected, without showing specific information such as an actual Facebook status update.
As HondaLink runs on a driver's smartphone, it does not require a separate data plan for the car.