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CES 2013: Subaru Starlink brings Internet-ready infotainment, finally

CES 2013: Subaru Starlink brings Internet-ready infotainment, finally

Car shoppers these days may not look much beyond the stereo. They come into the showroom and see if their phone will connect, then sign on the dotted line. And while we’ve been seeing some good cars from Subaru lately, their lack of modern connectivity systems is an overt shortcoming. Until now.

The company announced its new Starlink infotainment system at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, promising a more competitive dashboard offering than its traditional stereos. Debuting on the 2014 Forester, the Starlink system will next add Aha Internet radio connectivity to the 2013 Legacy and Outback models fitted with factory navigation. The system availability will spread with the 2014 BRZ, Impreza, and XV Crosstrek.

“We know that today’s car shopper is looking for technologies that … [help] them accomplish their daily errands without adding to driver distraction,” says Akio Takai, Deputy General Manger of Subaru’s parent company Fuji Heavy Industries.

Aha constantly tailors content to its subscribers from among tens of thousands of stations including, news, talk radio, audio books, and on-demand music services such as Slacker, MOG, and Rhapsody. It can also provide hotel recommendations from Trip Advisor, restaurant guidance from Yelp, local weather, and audio feeds from Facebook and Twitter.

Unfortunately, the new service is integrated into a touch-screen radio like the one in our Subaru BRZ. That system has hardly any physical buttons and the on-screen buttons are so small that it’s hard to hit the right one when driving. We’re enthused about the upcoming Starlink infotainment system, but we hope the interface is improved over the current stereo.

See our complete CES 2013 coverage.

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