HondaLink is coming this summer to compete with Ford’s SYNC image

In car technology is evolving quickly, with automakers like Ford and GM trying to keep up by constantly updating infotainment systems.

Honda’s family sedan offering is a ways behind in the infotainment and navigation categories.
But this is about to change this summer.

For 2013, Honda will launch HondaLink, its next-generation infotainment package, in the Accord.

Honda is in the midst of moving many of its connected services away from satellite data, although Honda representatives speaking with Wired haven’t determined if the automaker will move toward a built-in, always-connected modem in its vehicles or rely on drivers’ smartphones to provide data services.

More details will become available later next month, including more information on the possibility of adding in Apple Siri Eye Free, and is set to launch first in the new Honda Fit EV.

Apple’s Siri Eye Free
Distracted driving and hands-free calling are both very hot topics these days. And Apple is looking to help solve the problem with its new automotive integration of Siri called Eyes Free.

“Through the voice command button on your steering wheel, you’ll be able to ask Siri questions without taking your eyes off the road,” Apple said on its iOS 6 website.

It makes the iPhones more valuable to the user, said Mark Boyadjis, infotainment analyst with IHS Automotive.

“To be able to access it hands free and eyes free in the car will be an asset and will enable the Apple device to be continually more relevant in the car,” he said.

“This is an important movement forward.”

Yes, but this somehow will “kill” some on-board infotainment services – like the navigation – because some users will use Apple’s new navigation software instead of “on-board” navigation.

Apple announced that a home-grown mapping feature would be built into iOS6, the next generation version of the software that powers the iPhone. It will replace the Google Maps service Apple has used since the iPhone was first released, and includes a 3D mapping feature (created from fly-overs of major metropolitan areas) and new mapping features including real-time traffic and turn-by-turn navigation.

Ask Siri “Are we there yet?” and she’ll respond with the current status, according to another slide displayed at the event.

Relax and enjoy the drive. You’ll be there in 14 minutes,” Siri will respond.

Question is – how much the automakers will let Apple to “integrate”.