Robert Acker

Robert Acker, a longtime 12 volt industry executive who spent time at XM, RealNetworks, Aha Mobile and Harman International, passed away this week at the age of 49. A San Jose Mercury News report said a man found unresponsive near a jogging trail in Redwood City, Calif. was identified Thursday as Acker. 

Until now, Aha by Harmancontent has only been available to drivers with OEM or aftermarket head units with the feature. Griffin Technology has added the ability stream Aha content through any FM radio frequency with its iTrip Auto FM transmitter when connected to an iPhone or iPod touch.

"Many cars on the road today do not feature an auxiliary input or Bluetooth connection for a mobile device," said Robert Acker, VP and GM of Aha by Harman.

Yesterday, Robert Acker wrote an article for Mashable about the five things that automakers must do in order to make web-connected cars attractive to mainstream consumers. Acker's comments are insightful -- we wouldn't expect anything less from the GM of from Aha Radio -- but we have a few more items to add to the wish list.

In a nutshell, Acker argues that automakers need to focus on making web integration safer, simpler, and more consistent from one vehicle to the next. We agree, but we envision a slightly different approach to the problems at hand. We suggest that car companies:

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