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Buick Opens Pandora's Box, Makes App Standard in 2012

2012 Buick LaCrosse

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Buick is rolling out Pandora Internet radio services as a standard feature across its lineup, integrating it with the new IntelliLink infotainment system announced in April.

It will be made standard initially on the 2012 Buick Verano, Regal and LaCrosse, and on the Enclave crossover in 2013.

IntelliLink, which connects to a smartphone via USB or Bluetooth, will offer drivers three methods of accessing and navigating their personalized Pandora stations, including controls on the touch-screen display radio, buttons on the steering wheel, and voice activated commands.

Other automakers that have announced similar capabilities include BMW, MINI and Mercedes-Benz.

In related news, Ford is upgrading its own Sync interface to be able to read text messages out aloud, allowing drivers to keep their eyes on the road while still staying up to date with their work colleagues or friends.

Using Bluetooth to connect with a phone, the feature can alert the driver when he or she receives a message, read it out loud, and then allow the driver to respond using a selection of standard pre-written messages all completely hands free.

The feature is already installed on Ford’s upcoming 2012 lineup and will be offered to existing owners as an upgrade.

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