CES: Pioneer links smart phones with car navigation systems


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It’s not just automakers such as like Ford, Toyota and GM that are getting into the telematics game. Now aftermarket manufacturer Pioneer Electronics Inc. has revealed a host of smart-phone-connected systems at CES.

The Long Beach-based company, known for its car stereos, raised the curtain on two new in-dash touch-screen navigation systems -– AVIC Z130BT and AVIC X930BT. Both are coming out in the spring and will be priced from $1,000 to $1,500.


And each will be compatible with smart phones such as the iPhone. Pioneer’s free Aha Radio Mobile App will use an iPhone linked into the navigation system to turn Twitter, Yelp, Facebook and other social-media outlets into audio broadcasts.

Drivers will also be able to listen in on updated traffic conditions and customized music from Pandora.

And when the vehicle is parked, Pioneer’s App Mode feature will transmit videos from Safari, YouTube and more from a hooked-in iPhone onto the car’s navigation screen.

Pioneer will also be exhibiting its SmartCradle, which turns a GPS-equipped iPhone into any other Garmin or TomTom-style system. But the mount will have an accelerometer to measure speed as well as a gyroscopic sensor that can flip the map into portrait or landscape views.

An external antenna will help improve reception, preventing the wandering pinpoint problem that often occurs when navigation units can’t read satellite signals around high-rise buildings or in tunnels.

When users are driving efficiently, a small light will switch from red to green. And an added bonus: The cradle will also charge the phone.



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-- Tiffany Hsu