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Hands-Free, Eyes-Free Infotainment

Harman's recent acquisition of streaming audio web content provider Aha Mobile is expected to open new horizons for infotainment customers while improving user safety and convenience.  The Palo Alto, California company's innovative platform converts a wide range of Internet content to streaming online radio that users can access from the car or via smart phones.

Aha Mobile was launched in 2008 by a group of Web and multimedia veterans with a shared passion for delivering an “always-on,” connected lifestyle experience via dynamic audio content that originates on the Internet.  The company’s robust audio publishing platform blends user preferences, behavior, and predictive search technologies to deliver a customized information experience that even adapts based on the user’s expected traffic corridor.  Integrated speech-to-text technology allows users to verbally interact via social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook or select from an expected 1000+ channels of Web-based audio information. 

“Delivering safe and convenient Internet access to mobile users is one of the biggest challenges facing the infotainment industry,” said Dinesh C. Paliwal, HARMAN Chairman, President and CEO.  "This transformative technology will enable HARMAN to extend its leadership by dramatically expanding the information available to today’s connected generation while providing a safe, interactive experience.”

Aha Mobile launched its “Aha Radio” application for the Apple iPhone® earlier this year, and the app has since become popular among mobile users for sharing real-time, location-based traffic reports, entertainment and social network information.  

Travel and Leisure named Aha Radio one of its Top Travel Apps for 2010, and tech blogger Chris Parillo rated it a must-have for his readers who want to stay connected on the road.  The platform takes hands-free operation a step  further, bringing "eyes-free" interaction with its powerful text-to-speech technology. 

The Nearby Traffic feature  reads aloud the traffic conditions and construction delays for roads in the user's area, and users can even "shout" a recording about any unusual conditions they've encountered so it is shared with other Aha Radio users.  The Facebook station can read friends' updates aloud, and also allows users to record updates that are instantly posted to their Facebook account as audio clips. 

“Streaming, on-demand Web content technology is a natural complement to HARMAN’s premium infotainment systems, and we look forward to expanding the reach of this innovative platform to delight new customers,” said Paliwal.  “We will deploy this new technology to strengthen our global leadership as the provider of choice for rich, interactive infotainment on the road, around the home, or on the go.”

In addition to planned integration with HARMAN systems, the company will continue working with third parties to enable customized Web content on their products by leveraging the Aha platform.  The new    technology is a natural complement to HARMAN in-car infotainment systems which combine premium audio, navigation, hands-free communications and driver assistance features to offer leading automakers and their customers the ultimate on-road experience.  For more information:

                Test Drive Aha Radio on YouTube              News from HARMAN