LAS VEGAS ”“ Toyota put the mobile phone at the center ofa new in-car multimedia system as it introduced new technology here that it said would make the operation of mobile-phone-based infotainment systems safer and easier to operate.

The Japanese carmaker launched its Entune Multimedia System at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) here. It said improved voice recognition and in-vehicle controls would mean drivers wouldn’t have to touch their mobile phones to get interact with the technology and get web-based information.

“Consumers have grown accustomed to having the world at their fingertips through their mobile phones,”said Jon Bucci, vice president of Toyota’s Advanced Technology Department. “Entune allows the driver to interact with informative and entertaining mobile content without fumbling with their phone.”

Entune will be available as an option on select Toyota models in North America.

The carmaker’s new offering reflects the auto industry’s increased emphasis on better infotainment systems. Two auto-company CEOS, Audi’s Rupert Stadler, and Ford’s Alan Mulally, are giving keynote speeches at the CES this year.

Audi, Mercedes and BMW are competing to provide the easiestand most sophisticated access to infotainment and driver-assistance systems in the premium segments. Ford’s SYNC and GM’s OnStar are engaged in a similar battle among volume carmakers.