Pioneer announces iPhone GPS booster with built-in speakerphone

At CES today, Pioneer announced a new accessory for the iPhone which is meant for your car. It boosts the GPS signal (perfect for navigation apps), has a speakerphone with mic, and charges your device. The accessory is also very safety conscious as it blocks your iPhone’s app features from working unless you are fully parked. The Pioneer SmartCradle’s pricing and availability will be announced at a later date and the press release is after the break. (via Engadget)


Aha Radio®, SmartCradle™, MotionX™ and App Mode Provide Smartphone App Solutions for Drivers

LAS VEGAS – CES BOOTH #1001– (January 5, 2011) – The leading car electronics manufacturer, Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc., today announces new solutions for safer integration of smartphones into the car environment. Pioneer brings the next step in broadcast radio into the car with Aha Radio® Mobile App, which turns social media and traffic apps into audio broadcasts. Pioneer’s expertise in navigation, coupled with its focus on in-vehicle smartphone integration has led to the company’s first SmartCradle™ for use with Apple® iPhone™1 to enhance in-car performance of GPS enabled apps such as MotionX™-GPS Drive, the leading Apple iTunes navigation application. Also new is the App Mode feature which is available in nine new audio/video and navigation models and enables viewing of a connected iPhone’s video content from Safari, YouTube and other select apps2 directly through Pioneer’s larger, high resolution in-dash screens.

“We understand the importance of keeping drivers informed and entertained and we continue to work with the leaders in the Internet, smartphone, app and mobile realms to safely bring consumers the best in-vehicle experience,” said Ted Cardenas, director of marketing for the car electronics department, sales and marketing division of Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. “Seamless compatibility with Aha Radio, MotionX-GPS Drive and Pandora internet radio provides users with immediate access to apps and services that are most important to them.”

Pioneer’s two new in-dash navigation models are the first to conveniently connect drivers to the world around them with on-demand, interactive, personalized radio. Via an iPhone running the free Aha Radio Mobile App connected to the new AVIC systems, users can listen to the latest traffic conditions on their current road or commute road, listen to Facebook and Twitter updates, access hundreds of podcasts and other services such as the “Hungry” and “Coffee” stations which deliver real-time vicinity search results and directions to preferred restaurant categories listed on Yelp. Aha Radio offers over 100 content and podcast stations that can be conveniently accessed and controlled directly on the touch display of the Pioneer system.

The Pioneer SmartCradle for iPhones is compatible with all GPS enabled apps, including MotionX-GPS Drive and is the first of its kind to incorporate a built-in gyro sensor and accelerometer combined with an external antenna for improved GPS reception and location accuracy, even if GPS signals are limited by high rise buildings and tunnels. Additionally, the unit features an integrated amplified speaker with volume control for high quality hands-free calling and offers a mini USB input and audio/video output. An Eco Illumination2 light turns from red to green as driving efficiency increases and provides an awareness of driving habits. The unit can be rotated to portrait or landscape views and the SmartCradle will also charge the connected iPhone. “Pioneer is leading the way for Smartphone integration”, said Philippe Kahn, CEO of Fullpower,” customers are looking forward to using MotionX-GPS Drive with Pioneer’s solutions.”

The App Mode feature, which can only be accessed when the vehicle is in park and the hand brake is fully engaged, lets users view a connected iPhone’s video content from Safari, YouTube and other select apps2 directly on a larger high resolution screen. Audio from these video source and compatible apps, such as MotionX-GPS Drive’s navigation voice guidance can be heard through the vehicle speakers while driving.

Pricing and availability of Pioneer’s SmartCradle will be announced at a future date. App Mode and Pandora internet radio are available on the new AVH-P3300BT, AVH-P4300DVD and AVH-P6300BT audio/video units and Aha Radio is additionally available on the new AVIC-Z130BT and AVIC-X930BT in-dash navigation units.

Pioneer’s Car Electronics Department is known for offering the kind of in-car products that make driving more enjoyable by offering high quality audio and video, seamless connectivity and ease-of-use. Its focus is on the development of new digital technologies including audio video, navigation and satellite radio, while maintaining its strong heritage in products for car audio enthusiasts and sound competitors.

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