Automatica is a very clever take on in-car audio. It’s a USB stick which grabs new audio content whenever it is in range of a known Wi-Fi network, and it can be managed right from your iPhone via a custom web app.
The dongle works like this: You introduce it to your home Wi-Fi network, and also to your Dropbox, Skydrive, Google Drive, Box.net or MS account. And that’s it, if you like: The Automatica will pull down new content whenever it sees your Wi-Fi network, cache it and let you listen offline.
Plug it into your car stereo’s USB port and you can listen to any music, audiobooks or podcasts. And if you want to get fancy, you can have it pull in new episodes of podcasts automatically, configured using your mobile (or computer) browser.
I keep all my audio stuff in one place – on my iPhone – so I always know where to look. But if I was the kind of loathsome monster who drove a car every day, I reckon that the auto-updating Automatica would be a pretty fantastic idea, especially if you park in your driveway or garage overnight so it can update itself.
It’s also a pretty good deal, at $100, and can be set up at purchase, so you could send one to a less tech-savvy family member to arrive pre-configured, just like a Kindle.