Pioneer maintains the smartphone isn’t the ideal automotive device, and it’s easy to see why. The interface is too small, and with touchscreens failing to offer the tactility of buttons, the user has to give it their undivided attention – something that should be focused on the road.
To that end, Pioneer wants to bring all the features you use on your smartphone and plumb them into its aftermarket head units, beginning with Pandora streaming radio – pumped out from the iPhone app – coming to nine models in 2011 with a price starting at $150. Other head units can transfer video from an iPhone or iPod Touch through the company’s “App Mode.”
Additionally, Pioneer wants to match the OEMs point-for-point with the introduction of two new head units that will pull down data from Twitter, Facebook and Yelp, along with traffic conditions, then read all the information to the driver. Two of these units will be available this year and also include the ability to download your favorite podcasts and connected to Aha Radio.
Finally, Pioneer is introducing another iPhone-specific device, the SmartCradle, which features built-in GPS that works in conjunction with the iPhone’s gyroscope and accelerometer to enhance location awareness. Bluetooth connectivity, audio/video output and phone charging are all part of the package, as is automatic sound level control which listens to the ambient noise in the car and then increases the volume to compensate.
All the details are available in the press release below, but don’t look for any kind of Android, WP7 or Palm support just yet, this is soley an Apple-only joint… for now.