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Mobile apps blossom

An emerging trend at the International Consumer Electronics Show is to blend the popularity of smart phone applications with the convenience of a built-in screen in the car.

Toyota Motor Corp. and BMW's Mini brand both announced new mobile app technology at CES, and at a separate show that took place Wednesday in Las Vegas -- the Consumer Telematics Show.

Toyota rolled out Entune. Using Bluetooth phone pairing, it brings several popular mobile apps into the car, and makes them accessible through “conversational” voice commands.

Among the apps: Bing, to search for points of interest that can be sent to the car's navigation system; iheartradio and Pandora for entertainment; MovieTickets.com, and OpenTable.com, a restaurant reservation service.

Entune also reads back text messages.

Mini announced that all 2011 models equipped with the Mini Connected system will be able to stream Pandora Internet radio.

Pandora is the first third-party app for Mini Connected, an audio and infotainment system that uses the Apple iPhone and a USB connection to give drivers access to Web services in the car.

The driver uses the vehicle's joystick to navigate through content displayed on the color radio screen.

You can reach Leslie J. Allen at lallen@crain.com
Tags: CES

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