Fans of today's smartphone music apps will soon have a chance to integrate them more seamlessly into their cars, thanks to a new car stereo coming soon from Pioneer Electronics.
It's called the AppRadio, and is designed specifically as an in-car accessory for the iPhone. It uses Bluetooth to connect the phone to the unit and has a 6-inch touchscreen interface that can be used to interact with any apps stored in the phone. It also comes with its own app, which optimizes certain iPhone applications for the AppRadio interface. Compatible apps include the Rdio on-demand music service and Pandora Internet radio.
It also has several other cool features, like an external GPS antenna, external mic for hands-free phone calls, and enhances other apps like Google Maps.
Several car manufacturers have begun selling certain models with entertainment systems included that are designed to interact with smartphone apps in much the same way.
Pioneer's AppRadio unit is targeted at drivers who already have cars that lack this functionality, or who are buying new cars that don't include those features. It's by far the most advanced after-market car audio product designed with smartphone apps in mind. Products like these are necessary to bring digital music services into the vehicle, which is where people do most of their music listening.
The AppRadio is scheduled to become available in June. Pioneer says the price will be "less than $500."