Mazda is stepping up its in-car infotainment offerings with its new Mazda Connect system. The platform, which will debut later this fall on the Mazda3. As part of the offering, Mazda is incorporating Harman’s Aha Web-connected radio service. The system is accessible through a 7-inch display and rotary knob that Mazda refers to as its Command controller situated in the car’s center console. We’ve seen similar systems used by the likes of Audi and Mercedes.
Mazda is also incorporating a pseudo heads-up display with the system that sits just above the steering wheel on the dashboard. Instead of projecting an image directly onto the windshield like other HUDs do, Mazda’s system, which it calls its Active Driving Display, uses a panel attached to the dashboard. Users can also interact with the system via steering wheel-mounted controls or via voice controls.
Beyond it’s slick hardware, Mazda Connect allows for the use of various Web applications using your smartphone’s Internet connection. In-vehicle software can also be updates to support future smartphone operating systems, though that will likely have to be done at a dealership, rather than over-the-air. Mazda says its new system will eventually support a wide range of apps and services, as the automaker further develops the offering. The inclusion of Harman’s Aha means users will be able to access, among other things, their Facebook News Feed, Twitter feeds, audiobooks, podcasts and other services including Yelp.