Radioplayer Canada, the radio streaming app, has just unveiled the Reference Radio, a prototype touchscreen radio for dashboards, designed to show how smart 'hybrid' technology can transform in-car listening.
The 'hybrid' prototype is multiplatform, able to play HD Radio, FM, and Internet radio streams. But unlike most modern car radios, the Reference Radio shows a single list of stations across all those platforms. There's no need to select different sources like HD Radio, FM, or Internet first - the driver just taps a station logo to play it, and the system does the rest.
Safety has been a key factor in the design, reducing 'driver distraction' with an intuitive interface. A large display shows what's playing, and the driver switches between favourite stations by tapping a logo, swiping the screen, or pressing the buttons on the steering wheel. In the next phase of development, voice control will be tested, along with podcasts and personalization.
"Reference Radio represents another major step toward an even better user experience for radio listeners," said Julie Adam, Senior Vice President, Rogers Radio, and Board Chair of Radioplayer Canada. "Our collective industry goal is to provide simple, seamless, and safe radio listening for the automobile."
The new technology was demonstrated at an industry event in Berlin, in front of an audience of radio professionals and representatives from car companies. The interface was shown fully working, on a 7-inch Android touchscreen (the size that's often seen in modern car dashboards).
The Reference Radio is the culmination of years of research and development with industry partners like HD RADIO, Digital Radio UK, RadioDNS, and Audi. The prototype shows how broadcasters like the BBC, Global, Bauer, and dozens of international radio groups want their stations to appear in the car radios of the future.
Car companies, equipment manufacturers, and all interested parties have been invited to offer feedback on the prototype. Future versions of the design could be available to them to adapt for their dashboards, along with feeds of Radioplayer station data to power the experience.