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Pioneer In-Dash NEX Heads Add Cloud Services, OEM Integration

Las Vegas – Pioneer plans its first in-dash navigation units that connect to a cloud-based subscription service to download traffic and other data, and it will launch its first head units that are compatible with iDataLink’s Maestro module to retain OEM infotainment system functions in select Ford, Chrysler and GM vehicles.

The features will appear in four new navigation units and one new DVD-receiver that will be unveiled here at International CES. All are marketed under the Networked Entertainment eXperience (NEX) banner to denote models targeted to heavy smartphone users and featuring a new user interface that controls on-board features and connected services.

All five heads offer Siri Eyes Free, built-in MirrorLink, and AppRadio Mode, expanding these capabilities to more Pioneer head units. AppRadio Mode displays the GUI and video of newer iPhones and many Android phones while also controlling select smartphone apps.

All five heads also create Pandora stations on connected Apple and Android smartphones, control Harman’s Aha Radio smartphone app, and HD Radio Artist Experience, expanding these capabilities to more Pioneer head units.

All five are also said to be the industry’s first head units that stream SiriusXM album art when connected to a SiriusXM SXV200 outboard tuner.

All five are also the company’s first head units to play back high-resolution 192kHz/24-bit FLAC files.

The top-end nav system with 7-inch screen is believed by Pioneer to be the industry’s first aftermarket nav system with capacitive touchscreen.

The five NEX head units are the $1,400-suggested 7-inch AVIC-8000NEX, $1,200 AVIC-7000NEX, 6.1-inch $900 AVIC-6000NEX, and $750 6.1-inch AVIC-5000NEX navigation receivers and the 7-inch $700 AVH-4000NEX DVD-receiver. The top nav system features capacitive touchscreen, while the others have resistive screens.

They will be available in early February.

The cloud-connected nav systems use a feature called AVICSYNC and a connected smartphone to access such connected services as traffic, local search, weather, gas prices and more. Information and data-related icons are overlaid on the nav systems’ screens. For traffic, the heads download data from TomTom’s High Density (HD) Traffic service, which updates traffic every two minutes and covers more roads than other live-traffic services.

The cloud-connected nav systems also download updated map data that becomes available within 90 days of the systems’ first use.

Pioneer’s cloud service and enabling app will be available in the spring. A subscription price hasn’t been announced.

To integrate with OEM infotainment systems without losing OEM features, all five heads will be compatible with iDataLink’s series of Maestro OEM-integration modules.

When the heads are installed with a Maestro module, the OEM systems retain many of the OEM-infotainment features found in, or integrated with, the stock radio, including OnStar in GM vehicles, Sync in Ford vehicles, uConnect features in Chrysler vehicles, factory satellite-radio tuners, and factory Bluetooth. With the modules and NEX receivers, users can also access factory features directly from the receivers’ touchscreens and project NEX receiver information on factory-installed displays.

In launching the five in-dash head units, Pioneer is expanding its selection of AppRadio Mode heads, which display the GUI and video of newer iPhones and many Android phones while also controlling select smartphone apps.

The company is also expanding Siri Eyes Free to all of its DVD-receivers and adding the feature to its in-dash navigation receivers for the first time.

The products also include Pioneer’s first in-dash nav heads and DVD-receivers with built-in MirrorLink smartphone connectivity, joining MirrorLink-equipped AppRadio 3 heads and MirrorLink-ready in-dash DVD receivers. The latter require an MHL adapter.

HD Radio Artist Experience displays album art, station logos and other broadcast-related graphics. HD Radio and Artist Experience are available in all new models but the lowest priced new navigation system.

With built-in MirrorLink capability, the heads can be used with an optional $35-suggested cable to access music libraries, navigation applications, phone books and the like from MirrorLink-enabled smartphones available from Samsung and Nokia. The NEX heads display the applications in a manner that makes them safer to use on the road.

With Siri Eyes Free, users of an iPhone 4s, 5, 5c or 5s are able to touch the NEX heads’ displays to activate Siri, which provides hands-free access to many iPhone functions such as music selection, listening to and composing text messages, maps, calendar information, and the like.

When activated, Siri uses a human voice played through the vehicle’s speakers to respond to a user’s questions and commands. Questions and commands are received and transmitted using the external microphone provided with each NEX head.

With AppRadio capability, the NEX heads’ touchscreens control such key iPhone and Android phone functions as media playback, contacts, calendar, and select compatible downloadable apps such as navigation, real-time traffic, on-demand music services, and the like.

To deliver AppRadio functionality, four NEX models come with HDMI input and use optional adapters to connect to the iPhone 5, 5s and 5c equipped with Apple’s Lightning connector. The four heads also use their HDMI input to connect to Android phones equipped with MHL or Micro HDMI outputs. The heads use Bluetooth’s serial port profile and HID (Human Interface Device) profiles to control the Apple and Android smartphones. One model, the $750 AVIC-5000NEX, uses an RGB input and an RGB interface cable to connect to and control the iPhone 5, 5c, and 5s but not Android phones.

The touchscreens of all five heads also display iPhone 4 and 4s user interfaces via composite-video connection and control select phone functions and downloadable apps via USB cable.