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RAIN 5/25: New Pioneer radio expands in-car Net radio options

Posted on: 05/25/2010

PIONEER ADDS TO LINE OF IN-DASH RADIOS WHICH INTERFACE WITH PANDORA iPHONE APP

Pioneer has expanded their line of Pandora-friendly in-dash radios with a high-end unit that packs some added glitz. Dubbed the AVIC-Z120BT, this recently unveiled radio is capable of streaming Pandora channels through an iPhone connected via USB.

The new Pioneer radio also features a motorized 7-inch touchscreen display, 3D graphics, compatibility with satellite and HD radio, and the ability to create mood-based playlists out of stored music. It will ship in June with a $1,600 price tag. Earlier this year, Pioneer unveiled their first Pandora-friendly in-car radio, the AVIC-X920BT (RAIN coverage here). Like the new model, this first unit requires a connected iPhone to stream Pandora channels. It’s available now for $1,350.

Both models interact with connected iPhones through a free app, recently released by Pioneer. “Simply run the app and connect the iPhone to head unit with the USB cable,” writes CrunchGear (here). “The in-dash radio system will then display all of Pandora’s trademark functions like thumbs up and thumbs down formatted in Pioneer’s great-looking interface.” Ford is also bringing Pandora to car dashboards with an app-friendly update to their Sync system which, like Pioneer’s radios, requires a connected smartphone to stream Net radio (RAIN coverage here, here and here).

2011 AUDI A8 COMES WITH FACTORY-INSTALLED WI-FI HOTSPOT OPTION

Audi has just announced that their 2011 A8 will be available with a factory-installed Wi-Fi hotspot system. Audi claims the service is capable of speeds up to approximately 7 MB per second and will allow any Wi-Fi device — from laptops to iPads — to connect to the Internet. This means you don’t need a fancy smartphone to stream Net radio in your car, just an iPod Touch would do. Audi also says this is the first factory-installed hotspot system, though other options are out there (RAIN coverage here and here). AutoBlog.com has more here.

iPHONE 3GS GETS PRICE CUT AS 3G DISAPPEARS; APPLE MAKING WAY FOR NEXT-GEN DEVICE?

Wal-Mart has cut its prices for 16GB iPhone 3GS devices (that’s the current iPhone generation) to only $97. At the same time, the 8GB iPhone 3G (the previous iPhone generation) is no longer for sale on the Apple Store website (more here). The moves shouldn’t be surprising, as Apple “has good reason to want to clear out its iPhone inventory,” Daily Finance reports (here). “In less than two weeks, industry watchers anticipate CEO Steve Jobs will announce a new iPhone model at WWDC, the Apple developers conference.” WWDC is scheduled for June 7. Curious as to what the next-gen iPhone may look like? Well, Gizmodo is pretty confident this is it.

GRACE DIGITAL OFFERS NET RADIO RECEIVER FOR YOUR STEREO SYSTEM

The Grace Digital Audio Solo Net radio can stream Pandora, Sirius and be controlled through an iPhone app. But it doesn’t have speakers. That’s because it’s meant to plug in to existing stereo systems. The Solo Wi-Fi radio is also quite affordable at $125. Find out more from Engadget here.



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