Innovative technology for connective cars continues, this week Pioneer Electronics debuted a new line-up of in-dash receivers that offer bluetooth and usb connectivity for Androids and iPhones. These affordable, aftermarket products make it even easier for consumers to connect and listen to streaming audio in their car, featuring Siri technology for voice commands, simplified Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling and audio streaming, enhanced playback compatibility, and Pandora internet radio.
“The smartphone has become a part of most consumers’ lifestyles and a source of both entertainment and communication,” said Ted Cardenas, vice president of marketing for the Car Electronics Division of Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. “Pioneer’s new CD receivers provide various means for integrating a variety of smartphones into the vehicle.”
At prices starting at $90. That sounds like a pretty affordable price point to me.
Pandora continues to lead the pack of services that come integrated into the new offerings, they recently announced that they are now integrated with more than 100 car models and 23 manufacturers. That doesn’t mean other services are unavailable – just that Pandora is front and center as the featured service in the car. Mazda recently integrated Pandora into its 2014 Mazda6, incorporating voice commands that make listening while driving very easy and fun.
Pioneer Electronics Ted Cardenas and Pandora’s Director of Automotive Business Development Geoff Snyder will join a panel discussion at RAIN Summit Orlando on Dashboard Integration. Other panelists include Ford’s Global Lead, Business Development and Partner Management Scott Burnell, Slacker SVP Steve Cotter, and TuneIn VP Kevin Straley.
RAIN Summit Orlando takes place Tuesday September 17 starting at noon and finishing with a cocktail reception in the evening. Register here, and use the code Audio4cast to save a few bucks. I hope to see you there!
Pandora, the darling of the US online radio marketplace, recently rolled out genre stations – format based listening channels that enable fans to simply choose a channel and listen to a professionally programmed stream of music. The channels have been in the background for a while but have recently been given more prominence online. Apparently, Pandora is finding out that some listeners want the simple option. Interactivity may be too much work for some listeners.
“I think there’s a huge percentage of the population that will always love what the Pandora brand stands for, which is an approach where you start with some artist names and song votes and build your own channel.” says Kurt Hanson, Founder and CEO of AccuRadio, an Internet radio service that offers channels that emphasize professional programming and some, but less interactivity. “But there’s another segment of the market — an older segment, more mainstream — that will prefer an approach that doesn’t take as much effort.”
A factor that may be driving Pandora’s new promotion of “genre stations” is the prospect of Internet radio in cars. Pandora has b een leading the industry into automobiles, announcing deals with Ford, Pioneer and Alpine this year. In car listening is the final frontier for Internet radio – the place where broadcast radio dominates and lots of folks tune in. It remains a huge untapped potential for audience growth for Pandora and other Internet radio stations.
RadioTime has announced another product that will integrate it’s software into devices – this time with BMW and MINI. The MINI Connected option features a web radio function based on the RadioTime directory that leverages the iPhone’s Internet connection to tune to thousands of AM/FM and Internet-only radio stations worldwide.
Drivers of MINIs will be able to plug their iPhones into a standard USB port and then use the car’s existing controls to select from Internet radio stations in the RadioTime directory.
RadioTime CEO Bill Moore says, “Accessing Internet radio used to require patching a smartphone into a car’s existing sound system, and fiddling with a smartphone’s controls. Now, instead of looking at your smartphone screen, you can use the dash display and MINI Joystick to tune to web radio. Radio has always been an integral part of our cars, and we’re opening up the world of music, news, talk, sports and entertainment that only web radio can offer.”
This could well be the year that listening in cars begins to contribute to overall audience growth for Internet radio. Earlier this year Pandora announced deals with Pioneer for a Pandora enabled navigation system that will detect iPhones and iTouches and put the user’s Pandora settings on the nav screen, and a deal with Ford for its Sync in-car communication system.
There’s a lot of buzz about Internet radio in cars at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. Pandora is in the middle of most of it. They have announced a deal with Pioneer that will make it easier for Pandora listeners to use their iPhones to listen in their cars. Pioneer will market a Pandora enabled navigation system that will detect iPhones and iTouches and put the user’s Pandora settings on the nav screen. The system will cost about $1200.
Ford announced several new apps for its Sync connected in-car communication system. Openbeak will read twitter messages while you drive (and enable steering wheel controls like skipping forward or going back). Stitcher “allows listeners to create personalized, on-demand Internet radio stations with news, talk and entertainment programming. Within the Stitcher app, users choose the programs they want “stitched” together, and the app then streams that content to the user’s mobile device. Pandora, according to the press release, is ” the most popular Internet radio service in the world. Users simply enter a favorite song or artist into Pandora and the app quickly creates personalized radio stations, based on that musical style.”
Pandora Founder Tim Westergren told WSJ.com “Maybe a year ago people would have said Pandora is a computer thing, Now, “they’re beginning to realize that Internet radio is an anytime, anywhere thing.”
Good news about Pandora at CES wasn’t just about the car though. Sony is debuting a personal Internet viewer called the Dash, which resembles the Chumby, and enables more than 1000 Chumby apps as well as Youtube and Pandora.
Ford’s been pretty excited about SYNC – it’s branded and unique in-car communications system that enables the driver to use voice commands with some of the car’s functions. Drivers have been able to access 911 as well as traffic, directions and information using a bluetooth device paired with a mobile phone.
Now, having watched the success of mobile apps and the iPhone, Ford has begun taking steps to integrate SYNC with that larger playground. Searching for ways to adapt Smartphone mobile apps for in-car use through voice control of the SYNC(®) communications system, the company first turned to the nearby University of Michigan-Dearborn campus to spur innovative ideas around “what’s next” for the connected car experience.
There, Ford enlisted the help of six computer science students, working with their professors to devise an extracurricular project that would net the young programmers invaluable real-world experience. Not surprisingly, after reviewing roughly 100,000 apps in the iPhone App store, the students pinpointed Internet radio as one of two areas most relevant to in-car use. The resulting app, called SYNCcast, lets users enjoy Internet radio while driving. It will launch in 2010.
Presumably, Pandora is part of that development project. Pandora’s CTO Tom Conrad recently spoke about Pandora’s in-car development plans, saying that Pandora is working with car makers, including an existing deal with Ford, to put Pandora contols in the dashboard.