Pioneer revs up in-car entertainment
Since Pioneer announced its departure from the TV business to concentrate on in-car audio, this year’s CES announcements were set against a background of high expectations.
At the company’s press conference, there was an admission of a “tough” past 12 months, but an optimism that in-vehicle entertainment is of increasing importance as people expect more from their personal entertainment devices.
Describing a play for the “technology generation”, director of marketing Ted Cardenas outlined the company’s plans to evolve from the current “semi-connected world” to a “connected” one, focusing in particular on new products and services that integrate with Apple’s iPod and iPhones to connect cars to the wider world.
Of particular note was the announcement of PandoraLink, which uses a driver’s iPhone to link a Pandora internet radio account to the car’s entertainment system as if it were any normal radio source. Also introduced was Eco Graph, showing a graphical representation of a driver’s eco-performance, and providing a score out of 10 for speed, gear-changing habits and fuel consumption out of 10.
More than a dozen new in-car entertainment products were also announced, including new high-end speakers, Class-D amplifiers and a raft of new touchscreen, voice-activated and iPod-compatible in-car entertainment products, many of which ditch optical drives altogether.
Asked about UK availability, Pioneer told us that “most” of these products will be announced in Europe shortly, although timings could not be given.