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Pioneer, Alpine Debut Pandora Car Radios

LAS VEGAS – In a nod to the rise of Internet Radio, Pioneer and Alpine are showing some of the first market-ready car radios that access and control Pandora from the user’s iPhone during International CES.

 The new “Pandora car radios” provide a no-expense means of bringing Internet Radio to the car – if you already own an iPhone or iPod Touch.

In addition, Jensen expects to add Pandora control in two of its A/V-navigation radios, shipping in May, through a firmware update.

“Alpine sees Pandora as the next big way to listen to customizable music in the car.  We’ve had the proliferation of HD Radio. Satellite radio’s been popular for a while. And the Pandora app is being downloaded 20,000 times a day,” said Steve Brown, Alpine product promotion manager.

Pioneer’s A/V-navigation model AVIC-X920BT lets users control such Pandora functions as skip track, bookmark, “thumbs up/down” and station changing, while streaming music and displaying album art.

The double-DIN AVIC-X920BT has a 6.1-inch WVGA screen with touch control, enhanced voice recognition, built-in Bluetooth with audio streaming and USB iPod/iPhone control.  It also offers new high-speed scrolling through iPod music.  Shipping is expected in March at a street price of $1,200.

Alpine’s CD-less radio, model iDA-X305S, has a 2.2 inch color display that can show Pandora album art.  The single-DIN unit has a USB slot where users connect an iPhone to stream Pandora and control Pandora functions including rating tracks as good or bad.

The iDA-X305S also controls Pandora from an iPod Touch when the car is parked near a Wi-Fi hot spot. The iDA-X305S will ship in February at an expected price of $400.

Additionally, Alpine, JVC, Sony and Azentek are offering general app streaming but not control.

Alpine permits general app streaming from an iPhone on all of its 2010 and 2009 radios, so users may listen to the soundtrack from a CNN app as they drive and view video when the car is in park.

JVC offers general app streaming of audio only so users may listen to YouTube video soundtracks, or hear turn-by-turn directions from a navigation app or receive audible alerts on speed-camera locations through the Trapster app on both an iPod Touch or iPhone, said JVC.

The feature is provided on three JVC CD receivers: the KD-R810, KD-R710 and KW-XR810 at prices to be announced.

Sony is also offering app streaming from Pandora and Slacker over Bluetooth, and Azentek’s new $2,700 car computer permits app streaming, it said.