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Out of the Box: Pandora in Toyotas

Coming soon on your car dashboard: the Pandora button.

Pandora CEO Tom Conrad has taken to Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show to announce that Pandora fans will soon be able to log in to their personalized Internet radio stations in the car. Well, in some Toyotas and BMWs.

Toyota has made Pandora part of its in-dash multimedia system, Entune, which is competeting with the Ford Sync, a venture with Microsoft. Pandora announced it will be featured in the in-dash system on the Mini Cooper, which with BMW has been integrating iPods and iPhones to its audio systems.

Conrad tells TechCrunch that San Francisco-based Pandora is missing out on boatloads of customers, because 50 percent of all radio listening takes place in the car.

That really is a lot of lost business for Pandora, the market leader in Internet radio. It has 75 million registered users and operates from smart phones, computers, Blu-ray players, TVs – more than 200 Internet-connected consumer-electronics devices. Toyota is being criticized for being late to the party on this one.

Hey, if it brings me closer to my Motorhead station, I’m not complaining. Better late than never.

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