GM Reinvests Dashboard Entertainment


The battle for dashboard supremacy is starting to heat up.

General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) -- a real laggard here compared to Ford's (NYSE: F  ) MyFord Touch and Toyota's (NYSE: TM  ) Entune -- is ready to give smartphone owners new ways to entertain themselves on the open road.

Tech blog Engadget attended this week's unveiling of CUE, the new Cadillac infotainment platform that will begin rolling out on select Caddy models next year. CUE -- short for Cadillac User Experience -- stars a sleek 8-inch capacitive multitouch LCD that serves up weather and 3-D navigation. It also doubles as an HTML-5 Internet browser, giving drivers with Bluetooth-enabled smartphones a new realm of cybersurfing possibilities.

CUE is backed by Nuance's (Nasdaq: NUAN  ) voice-recognition software, so drivers can keep their eyes on the road.

Now let's get to the audio features. Pandora (NYSE: P  ) is embedded into CUE. That's not groundbreaking. Entune beat them in making Pandora a prominent icon feature. However, Engadget also claims that CUE will support Stitcher.

Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) fans haven't flinched at the threat of Pandora popping up in more cars. The fact that the fast-growing music-streaming site is accessible through Entune and Ford's AppLink doesn't address Sirius XM subscribers who pay $13 a month for more than just tunes. Well, Stitcher addresses that by specializing in news, sports, and comedy podcasts. CNBC, Fox News, and CNN are featured content partners.  

Sirius XM still has its advantages. It lacks the depth of Stitcher's content, but it's live and timelier. It lacks the breadth of Pandora's catalog, but Pandora listeners have to pay a monthly premium if they want to equal Sirius XM's commercial-free musical experience. However, the meatiest advantage that Sirius XM has right now is that automakers -- GM included -- have financial incentives to get drivers to activate their receivers after the free trials run out.

It's an advantage that can't be dismissed, though the rapidly evolving state of dashboard audio entertainment can no longer be ignored.

If you want to see how Sirius XM stands up to the stream teams add Sirius XM Radio to My Watchlist.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for Ford. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford Motor. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of General Motors, Ford Motor, and Nuance Communications. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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