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Pioneer Expands Smartphone Connections To Car Radios

11/17/2013 07:00:00 PM Eastern

LONG BEACH, CALIF. — Pioneer has begun shipping a dozen new in-dash aftermarket head units that offer expanded smartphone-connectivity options.

The lineup consists of five double-DIN multimedia DVD receivers, five single-DIN CD receivers, and the company’s first two mechless head units in years.

With the launch, Pioneer has expanded AppRadio mode for Android and Apple smartphones to more DVD receivers, expanded Android Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) compatibility to DVD receivers, enabled multiple CD receivers for the first time to play and control multiple music-streaming apps, and expanded the selection of head units that use Bluetooth to control Siri Eyes Free on an Apple smartphone.

In another change, Pioneer launched the first aftermarket head units that can be used to create custom Pandora stations on a connected smartphone, whether a Bluetooth-connected Android phone or USB cable-connected Apple phone.

Pioneer also expanded its selection of head units with MirrorLink connection to select Android smartphones. MirrorLink was previously available on only one head unit.

The five new multimedia receivers are the $300-suggested AVH-X1600DVD, $350 AVH-X2600BT, $400 AVH-X3600BHS, $450 AVH-X4600BT, and $500 AVHX5600BHS.

The new single-DIN CD receivers are the $150 DEHX7600S, $160 DEH-X7600HD, $190 DEH-X8600BS, $200 DEH-X8600BH, and $260 DEH-X9600BHS.

The two mechless units are the $100 MVH-X360BT and $130 MVH-X560BT.

In DVD receivers, all five new models get MirrorLink compatibility through an optional $100 interface cable. MirrorLink enables the head units to access the music, contacts and maps of select Android smartphones through the head unit’s touchscreen.

All DVD receivers are the first multimedia receivers with USB MTP for Android phones, enabling the head units to control basic playback functions on the Android phones, including play, pause, fast-forward, rewind, random and repeat. The head units also display song title, artist name and time information. Connected Android smartphones must run Android 4.0 and above and feature Android MTP. MTP appeared for the first time earlier this year in select Pioneer single-DIN CD receivers.

Like previous head units, the DVD receivers also feature AppRadio Mode to view and control AppRadio-compatible apps and control other core functions of Android and Apple smartphones, including the new iPhone 5s and 5c. The new heads, however, simplify connectivity with iPhones through the use of a new lower-cost $70 cable adapter, which consists of a 6.5-foot RGB 26-pin-to-VGA connector and a 1.6-foot Lightning- to-USB cable.

In an industry first, all of the multimedia receivers allow users to create new Pandora stations while connected to a USBor Bluetooth-connected iPhone or to a Bluetooth-connected Android phone. In another first, two head units incorporating an HD Radio and SiriusXM port will also create Pandora stations from songs received via HD Radio, satellite radio and connected iPod.

All five DVD receivers also display Pandora metadata from Bluetooth-connected Apple and Android phones, expanding the selection of head units with that capability.

Four of the five DVD receivers also use Bluetooth to deliver Siri Eyes Free functionality on iPhone 4S and later iPhones. Bluetooth-enabled Siri Eyes Free was previously available on only one head unit. Siri Eyes Free enables drivers to use their voice control to place calls, select and play music, hear and compose text messages, listen to notifications and add reminders. Siri Eyes Free can also be used with a USB-cable-connected iPhone.

All five DVD receivers feature Mixtrax virtual-DJ technology. The $400 and $500 models are compatible with the SXV200 SiriusXM Vehicle Connect Tuner and its Tune Start and Tune Scan features. The Tune Scan feature scans through songs from the user’s music presets. When a user enables the Tune Start feature and tunes to a favorite preset music channel, the current song will automatically start playing from the beginning.

The $400 and $500 models also feature built-in HD Radio with HD Radio Artist Experience to display album art or station logos.

Among the mechless and single-DIN CD receivers, all feature MTP for playback of music stored on a cable-connected Android phone. All also enable Pandora station creation on a cable-connected iPhone and Bluetooth-connected Android phone. The CD receivers add the ability to create Pandora stations from a connected iPod, built-in HD Radio and SiriusXM channels.

All of the mechless heads and CD receivers are the company’s first products with Media App Control, enabling them to play and control music from various music apps, such as iHeartRadio and Aupeo. With Media App-compatible apps, drivers can use a head unit’s play, pause, next and back commands to control the playback of music apps running on a USB-connected iPhone or Bluetooth-connected Android device.

The two mechless models and top three CD receivers feature built-in Bluetooth wireless capability for handsfree calling, music streaming, and Siri Eyes Free control for the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.

The top three CD receivers add compatibility with the SXV200 SiriusXM Vehicle Connect Tuner. Those three also feature built-in HD Radio with HD Radio Artist Experience.

All mechless models and CD receivers also feature Mixtrax.

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