The personalized radio service operator announced today that Toyota
We've known that Pandora was going to be part of Toyota's Entune platform since January, but now we're seeing that it's available in the country's best-selling car and the top-selling compact pickup truck.
As long as someone in the car has a smartphone -- and the Entune app currently supports iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android -- the handset's data plan can be used to stream Pandora through the car's audio system.
Entune is slicker than you probably think. The car's center console lights up with big app buttons for Microsoft's
If Sirius XM Radio
Sirius XM also offers dealerships financial incentives that Pandora will not be able to match.
However, Toyota knows that it can't ignore Pandora's appeal when it comes to selling new cars. Pandora's revenue soared 117% in its latest quarter, as the music-discovery site served up 1.8 billion listener hours. Pandora's explosive popularity -- and the ubiquitous nature of the top three smartphone platforms -- make it easy to offer drivers a growing array of free options on the wireless carriers' bandwidth.
If Toyota misses out on a few XM subscriber activations because drivers upgraded their old cars to new Camry and Tacoma vehicles with Entune it's a trade it will gladly make.
The next few months will be crucial. Is Entune the seamless platform to beat? Is it buggy? The ability to use the car's radio dashboard to select Pandora stations, skip songs, and rate songs to get even better recommendations is something that terrestrial and satellite radio operators can't ignore.
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.
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