Car Internet Radio To
Go Mainstream At CES
By Joseph Palenchar On Dec 20 2010 - 6:01am
NEW YORK –
Internet radio will go mainstream in
the mobile electronics aftermarket at International
CES, where multiple suppliers will launch their first
in-dash head units that control select Internet radio
apps on USB-connected iPhones.
Other suppliers are expected to expand their selection
of head units with Internet-radio controls,
and prices of such head units will start well
below the current opening price point of a
suggested $380 for a current Alpine model.
In other major developments, at least
one supplier will launch head-unit control of Pandora
apps on smartphones other than iPhones. Suppliers
will also expand the selection of Internet-content
apps that can be controlled from a head unit beyond
the Pandora and Jensen apps. And dual iPod/iPhone
USB inputs in select head units will appear down to
about a suggested $179.
Heads with both a front-panel and back-panel
USB/iPod input enable consumers to keep an iPod
tucked away in the glove box like a CD changer while
they plug in their iPhone or friends’ iPods through a
There will also be embedded HD Radio in a few
more head units, an expansion of the selection of
OE-look radios, and a slightly expanded selection of
A/V multimedia head units.
Also at the show Dual will unveil its first products intended
to strengthen its commitment to 12-volt specialists,
Audiovox will show its first car Blu-ray player, and the
first HD Radio-equipped head units will appear with the
ability to display Artist Experience images transmitted by
At least one more supplier
will launch its first DSPequipped
head unit that automatically
to a particular vehicle without
requiring the use of test
tones and a microphone.
In Internet radio developments,
Alpine and Pioneer
in 2010 launched the first
head units that control Pandora Internet-radio apps on a
USB-connected iPhone, and Jensen launched the first
head units that control a Jensen-provided iPhone app
that accesses more than 35,000 Internet radio stations.
In 2011, the selection of Pandora-controlling head units
will expand dramatically, and head-unit control of at least
two other Internet radio apps for iPhones will debut.
At CES, Kenwood will launch its first nine automotive
head units with Pandora Internet radio control at the show.
Kenwood will also offer the feature in all five of its new
in-dash multimedia/nav systems, in two upper-end CD receivers,
and in its two mech-less digital media receivers,
which lack CD player but connect to a wide variety of alternate
Also to bring Internet radio and other music sources
into car audio systems, suppliers will expand the selection
of head units supporting stereo Bluetooth. Many of
these models, like some
current models, will support
the Bluetooth AVRCP
(audio video remote control
profile), which allows
for wireless control from
the head unit and steeringwheel
controls of basic
such as track up/down and
play/pause, depending on
the app, suppliers said.
Heads with stereo Bluetooth and the AVRCP will appear
at prices down to a suggested $179.
Some of the new stereo Bluetooth head units, however,
will lack AVRCP, requiring users to control Internet radio
apps from the smartphone itself.
Unlike tethered connections to an iPhone, the Bluetooth
profiles do not enable head units to display artist/song
metadata or album art, nor do they enable front-panel
browsing of different playlists or head-unit-control of Pandora’s
thumbs up/down function, the company said.