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Pioneer Stepping Up iPhone, Android Connectivity


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,

, 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.