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Tesla Model S Gets First Direct TuneIn Internet Radio Integration

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Deliveries for the 2012 Tesla Model S have started, and in case you missed editor John Voelcker's first drive of the Model S this past week, one point of note was how calm and quiet the cabin remains even when accelerating.

That said, while we've spent more time sitting in the Model S than driving it, we haven't yet spent much time using its sound system. In addition to the Slacker Personal Radio features that already come in the Model S, there's now another way to be informed or entertained. With TuneIn services, song and track information for streaming radio stations are fully integrated, with the info displayed with album art either in the Model S's gauge cluster just ahead of the driver, or over on the touch screen.

According to TuneIn, it's the first direct integration in a vehicle, rather than streaming through a smartphone's data connection; and it's the company's 200th distribution platform. TuneIn is already available as an app for iPhone and Android handsets, as well as for tablets, home entertainment systems, and online.

In the Model S, the huge 17-inch touch-screen system that serves as its interface is already a standout. And with an interface designed in-house at Tesla Motors [NSDQ: TSLA], plus well-integrated streaming, it's looking like one of the most interesting pieces of infotainment hardware yet.

In part, it's like a large-screen iPad (with an operating environment that somewhat resembles IOS or Android systems), with a supplemental display that's part of the gauge cluster just in front of the driver. With dedicated data access—there's a monthly fee, but Model S buyers should be able to afford that—you get live Google maps, a Web browser, easy access to vehicle settings, and the opportunity to stream audio and use specially designed apps.

With TuneIn there will be no lack of choices. The service offers unlimited listening of more than 70,000 stations (AM, FM, HD, and Internet) from 230 countries and territories, with about two million on-demand programs.

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