Pioneer Stepping Up iPhone, Android Connectivity

By Joseph Palenchar On Jul 2 2012 - 4:01am




NEW YORK – Pioneer’s car electronics division has expanded the selection of smartphone apps compatible with its iPhone- and Android-controlling in-dash car stereos, and the company later this year will expand its selection of head units that control both types of smartphones, car marketing VP Ted Cardenas said.

The number of U.S.-market iPhone apps whose content can be displayed on, and controlled from, five in-dash Pioneer head units has grown to 14. The number of compatible Android apps that can be displayed on, and controlled from, one of those five head units has grown to 12.

To stimulate the development of more compatible apps, the company announced plans to open a dedicated app developer portal, www.appradiodev.com, in about a week. For developers, the self-service website will outline the procedures for submitting apps for consideration, provide a software development kit, and help Pioneer keep up with the unexpected number of developers interested in making apps, said Cardenas.

The head units that control iPhone apps include the $399-everyday AppRadio, a double-DIN AM/FM-receiver launched last year with 6.1-inch capacitive touchscreen but no CD mechanism. Two in-dash A/V-navigation systems at $800 and $1,200 and one A/V receiver at $650 also deliver AppRadio’s connected-iPhone functionality. They feature CD/DVD player and began shipping in February, March and April, respectively.

A fifth head unit, the $499-everyday AppRadio2, is a big-screen CD-less model like AppRadio but is compatible not just with the iPhone but also with 16 Android phones. The 16 Android phones sport either a Mobile High Definition Link (MHL) port or MicroHDMI port to stream Android-phone-stored video and images to the head unit. Audio and control signals go over a Bluetooth connection. To connect Android phones to AppRadio2, a $119 cable kit is required. AppRadio2, launched in April, features 7-inch capacitive touchscreen.

“We’ll see AppRadio [functionality] on a lot more products this year,” Cardenas said. AppRadio2 functionality for Android phones will also appear on more products later this year, he added.

These head units, Cardenas said, “deliver the promise of the connected car to practically any car and to any consumer without having to buy a new vehicle.”

For the Android-controlling AppRadio2, Pioneer announced three new Android phone apps, bringing the number of compatible apps to 12. The new Android apps are Inrix Traffic, Best Parking, and Echo Echo. Inrix displays real-time traffic congestion on street maps, Best Parking compares area parking rates, and Echo Echo lets users find friends on a map or let friends know where you are.

The new apps join the following compatible Android apps: Waze turn-by-turn navigation app, the Aupeo! Personal Radio and Pandora Internet radio apps, DashCommand to display vehicle-diagnostics and driving statistics, Extra Mile to provide voice navigation with audio feedback to improve driving and conserve fuel, the free Nav Free turn-by turn navigation app with voice prompts, and Pioneer’s AppRadio app, which lets users access the phone’s calendar, contacts, maps, and photos from the head unit. Also available is Pioneer’s Car Keyboard, which lets users input text directly on the 7-inch touchscreen, and CarMediaPlayer, which lets users select phone-stored music by artist, song, or album by touching, dragging, and swiping.

For the iPhone, the 14 compatible apps include AppRadio, Aupeo!, Best Parking, Car Keyboard, Car Media Player, DashCommand, Extra Mile, Inrix Traffic, Livio Radio Internet radio, Mixtrax to analyze stored music to create custom playlists for non-stop song mixes with DJ effects, MotionX GPS Drive voice navigation, Pandora and Rdio Internet radio, and StreamS HiFi Radio.

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