Entune relies heavily on wireless technology to do its thing. Using your cell phone (and your carrier's monthly data plan allotment) as a data conduit, Entune is able to communicate with the remote servers that process your requests and feed them back as information on the car's navigation screen.
Providing the link between your phone and the Entune system installed in the car is a familiar system -- Bluetooth. If, however, you find the process of synching Bluetooth devices too troublesome, Entune can also pair up with your phone using a plain old USB cable.
Toyota engineers anticipated that the number and variety of applications would eventually grow. Likewise, there might be map updates, bug fixes or other reasons Toyota or an Entune user wants to bring an older system up to date. Unlike a recall or technical service bulletin, you won't have to bring an Entune-equipped car to a shop to update the system. That's because the updates will happen over-the-air, automatically.
When you make a request of Entune, like asking about traffic jams along your route or getting a comparison of area gas prices, the system uses your phone's data link to send the query. A timer symbol appears while you wait -- sometimes several seconds -- for the answer.
Powered by Microsoft's Bing search engine, Entune is said to have more than 16 million points of interest that one can look up.
As it does use the cell phone network to send information back and forth between Entune servers and customer's in-car units, the system is vulnerable to coverage issues. Presumably, tunnels, mountainous areas and anywhere else that cell phone reception is spotty could make the system sluggish or unresponsive.