Connecting smartphones to a head unit to deliver popular in-vehicle apps is an ongoing challenge. Looking for products that can deliver new capabilities and easy access to smartphone functionality is a must. No matter how good the receiver hardware, it has to be simple to connect smartphones to the IVI head unit.
That was the challenge facing Pioneer for its in-dash multimedia DVD receivers.
The receivers offered a Pioneer developed feature called AppRadio Mode that gave users easy access and control of select smartphone applications when connected to a compatible smartphone. However, maintaining compatibility with rapidly evolving smartphone technology quickly became a complicated issue due to both differing physical and software connections required by various handset manufacturers. To alleviate the problem and simplify the connectivity protocol for both iOS and Android™ smartphones, Pioneer adopted WEBLINK IVI integration platform from Abalta Technologies, and created the AppRadio One™ feature.
Before adopting WEBLINK, Pioneer’s AppRadio Mode relied on either a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) cable or Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) to connect the smartphone to the DVD receiver, which proved to be an expensive accessory at over $100. Selecting the right connectors and setting up the system for various smartphones was also complicated for users and dealers.
Abalta’s WEBLINK was able to address these problems for Pioneer. By using Abalta’s WEBLINK, AppRadio One gives users control over smartphone applications through a direct USB cable connection to the DVD receiver. Users simply use the same cable that comes with their smartphone to connect to the headunit (or any compatible USB-to-phone cable, such as the Pioneer CD-MU200 (Micro-USB for Android devices) or CD-IU52 (Lightning® to USB for iPhone®) cables). Now connected vehicle owners have access to Pioneer’s AppRadioLIVE app, which aggregates content from popular music, events, traffic, weather and news sources through an interactive user interface. AppRadioLIVE delivers fresh content from many popular apps without the need to search and open them individually.
“The Abalta WEBLINK platform enables Pioneer to provide a real benefit for both end users and retailers,” said Ted Cardenas, vice president of marketing for the Car Electronics Division of Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. “The performance of the solution combined with a simple, one cable connection is unique in today’s complicated connectivity marketplace. We are pleased to be able to partner with Abalta to bring this complementary technology to our customers.”
WEBLINK is specifically designed to connect any iOS or Android smartphone to the DVD receiver using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or a cable connection. WEBLINK allows OEMs to develop their own branded interface and uses lean onboard hardware, an open HTML5 platform, and secure cloud management to support smartphone access. Using WEBLINK, the cloud server creates a virtual app screen that is streamed to the receiver via the smartphone. User interactions, such as touchscreen commands, are captured and sent back to the apps using the smartphone for a data connection.
An Elegant Solution that Opens New MarketsBy partnering with Abalta, Pioneer has been able to extend the market reach for its AppRadio One compatible DVD receivers, and make the platform a much more attractive solution. Abalta’s WEBLINK platform enables universal compatibility for Apple and Android handsets. With thanks to WEBLINK, Pioneer’s AppRadio One will continue to provide smartphone support to the coming generation of connected cars.
Topics: Product Updates/Announcements