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Nearly 1,000 Products Integrate Pandora

GM makes it easier for drivers to add apps to their infotainment systems

Pandora is feeling pretty good at this CES. The Internet audio company says 1,000 products now have integrated the service.

Last year, when I spoke to the company’s Tim Westergen in his suite at the Wynn, 800 or so products had Pandora built-in, making the personalized radio service available in more places.

Chrysler Group has joined the roster of automotive brands to integrate Pandora into the vehicle, making it the 20th automotive brand partner for Pandora.

Pandora says its audience figures for December showed it had 67.1 million, an increase of 41% during the same period last year.

Also at this show, General Motors revealed a new flexible application framework that will allow drivers to add apps and features to their vehicle after the initial purchase, allowing vehicle infotainment systems to be upgraded over time. The framework enables new sets of vehicle application programming interfaces, or APIs, for developers, allowing them to interact with and build upon the infotainment systems in GM vehicles.

GM will offer developers a software development kit through an online portal at This will allow developers to work with GM in a secure and controlled manner to design, test and deliver the most relevant, customizable and integrated automotive apps.

The implementation of these apps is incorporated into new infotainment systems, debuting in select 2014 MY vehicles that will change how in-vehicle apps are offered. The systems’ framework includes an app catalog that will allow vehicle owners to choose from a menu of available applications specifically designed for the in-vehicle experience.

GM demonstrated applications from four potential partners for the new app catalog: iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Slacker and The Weather Channel. The catalog, which is not yet available on GM vehicles, is expected to grow as GM gets ready to launch the new framework.

The automaker says the new apps will be unique. “It’s not just taking phone apps and making them functional in a car, which most car companies do in some form,” said GM Chief Infotainment Officer Phil Abram. “Instead, GM may approve applications that stem from vehicle ownership. For example, customers may choose to download apps that help them in driving more safely or use fuel more efficiently.”

Once these apps are created and have been approved by GM for in-vehicle use, future owners of certain GM models will be able to download them directly to the vehicle through the app catalog.

“GM customers will soon be able to personalize and update their vehicle apps — compared to today, when you buy a vehicle and the infotainment features are fixed and remain the same as long as you own the car.