Forget gas: Pioneer fills your car with mobile apps

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Pioneer showed off its next-generation in-dash system with smartphone compatibility at last week’s CES event, but I never got a chance to see it. The product page is up for this $599 receiver, and it supports the big two mobile operating systems: iOS and Android. Connecting a smartphone to Pioneer’s AppRadio 2 moves the handset interface to a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen with an external GPS radio and Bluetooth support. That means instead of fumbling on the phone when driving, you can control functions or take hands-free calls in a more traditional manner and keep your eyes forward.

This setup also brings apps and mobile broadband access to the AppRadio 2. App support varies by platform, but here are few examples of compatible apps, all focusing on useful driving scenarios: Pandora, Rdio, Waze, Inrix Traffic, as well as many more. Pioneer also includes an interface jack for rear-facing cameras as well as a microSD card slot. But don’t think you’ll be transferring any data to that memory card; it’s only for firmware upgrades on the AppRadio 2. Because, you know, the modern car of today (and tomorrow) needs a firmware update every now and then.

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