Voice commands also worked to buy movie tickets, make restaurant reservations through the OpenTable app and get turn-by-turn navigation towards cheap gas.
Both Toyota's and Hyundai's systems require yearly subscription fees after free trial periods.
On Chrysler's Ram 1500 truck introduced at the gadget show this year, iHeart Radio was added as an application. Users who link their smartphones to the car can select from customized stations they've made already but aren't able to create new ones by voice. That is not likely to be a barrier for long, said Brian Lakamp, president of iHeart parent Clear Channel Digital.
"Voice activation — it's a trend and it's going to get more and more sophisticated over time," Lakamp said. "We'll be lock-step when they're taking advantage of voice to the extent they can."
The truck also includes the option of using a 3G cellular phone chip inside the vehicle itself to become a Wi-Fi hotspot for $15 a day. That could be an attractive feature for people who might want to use the truck for a tail-gate party.
And one small company called Livio was looking to drum up some business from radio stations and automakers with a prototype for embedding tiny codes inside traditional FM radio streams. The codes would allow cellphone users to respond to advertisements with a tap on their smartphone screen. The technology could one day enable companies to send coupons through traditional FM radio stations to drivers who let them know they're interested.
The Livio Connect system "opens FM radio to two-way communication," said marketing director Nicole Yelland. "No longer is it shouting at you. There's a dialogue."
Given that Google, Toyota and others have been testing driverless cars, it's not hard to imagine the day when your smartphone will hear your stomach gurgle, get Burger King to send you a coupon, and then guide the car up to the drive-thru window for a quick bite.
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