Pioneer will ship at the end of June the aftermarket’s closest car radio yet to a smartphone in your dash. It’s new “App Radio” for under $500 is the first aftermarket car radio with a phone-like capacitive screen with multi-touch and swipe and it will work with a group of apps whose icons can appear on the screen.
The radio is actually like an iPhone 4 and iPod Touch 4 speaker dock for the dash. The opening screen shows a big digital time readout and some icons.
Apps include MotionX-GPS Drive for turn-by-turn directions, Google Maps, Google Local search, INRIX real time and predictive traffic, Pandora,and Rdio (social networking radio service).
There’s no CD player, but you get built in Bluetooth calling, video, a 6.1 inch screen, and capability for a rear view camera and steering wheel controls. There’s also AM/FM radio.
Pioneer is aiming the App Radio at a broad audience and hopes to capture many consumers who would not ordinarily think of removing their factory radio. It will accompany the launch in June with its most aggressive ad campaign in years and its targets will include general iPhone, Apple magazines and blogs.
At a press conference in San Francisco Wednesday, the company hinted that other App Radios in the future will work with Android and other phones.
When you connect your iPhone to the App Radio it prompts you to download a Pioneer app and then it shows you the apps that work with radio. Once you download them, the icons appear on the radio.
The apps will work with eachother so you can control Pandora on the radio while navigating. Apps other than those mentioned above will work with the radio but may be shut down when the car leaves Park mode so don’t expect to watch YouTube while you are driving.
But Pioneer will be adding more driver-friendly apps, probably before the product launches.
The radio is firmware updatable.