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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Here's Our AppRadioLIVE Review: Connected Features In A Sleek Interface [Pictures]

Pioneer Electronics made a "big" announcement at the Connected Car Conference (C3) last week but it wasn't what most people were expecting. The announcement was the launch of AppRadioLIVE, an AppRadio Mode app that puts commonly used connected features together.

Disappointment for not seeing the long awaited CarPlay update aside, AppRadioLIVE is an app that will pleasantly surprise you. Especially if you use your AppRadio on your way to work, for example. It is all you need to get traffic information, play your music, see what's on your calendar and what's happening around you with one glance.

I have been using AppRadioLIVE for a few days now on my AppRadio 3 (SPH-DA210) & iPhone 5, and here is my initial review.

AppRadioLIVE by Pioneer

AppRadioLIVE is designed to provide you information you need during your commute. The interface is simple, sleek and very responsive. Here are the features that have been combined in AppRadioLIVE's interface...

1. Maps: INRIX Traffic  provides traffic information for your commute. Additionally, you can use the map for navigation, finding points of interest (provided by Yelp), and getting live ETA information for your destination (Work or Home). Accident/Incident information can help you find your way around congested areas, thereby saving your time and money.

2. Music and Podcasts: You can stream music from your iPod library, Rdio account or internet radio stations. Podcasts can also be played using Stitcher.

3. Calendar: Information stored on your Calendar is displayed to keep you up to date with your schedule. Additionally, you can use Eventseeker to find interesting events around you and get directions and even add events to your calendar. Your Facebook events also show up if configured to do so.

4. News: Latest news is provided by Feedly with text-to-speech. Weather information is also available for your current location, home, work or destination.

Compatible Hardware:

You will need an iPhone 5S/5C/5, iPhone 4S/4 or an iPod Touch 5th Generation (with internet connectivity) to use AppRadioLIVE. AppRadioLIVE works with all AppRadio Mode enabled head units from Pioneer including the AppRadio, AppRadio 2, AppRadio 3 and Pioneer's latest NEX receivers.

Initial Launch:

When you first launch the app you will be asked to allow apps like Facebook and your calendar to communicate with AppRadioLIVE. After connecting to an AppRadio Mode enabled head unit, you have to launch AppRadio Mode from the head unit.

AppRadioLIVE can be launched either from the AppRadio app or by launching the app directly. On first launch you will be brought to this screen...


The interface is simple and easy to navigate. You can launch Maps, Media, Weather/News or Events Calendar. The button in the center takes to to the home page which we'll get to later.

When you are in each mode, you will see one icon in each of the four corners of the screen. There is the 'home' icon the the top left corner, 'settings' icon in the bottom left, 'notifications' icon in the bottom right, and 'source' icon in the top right. In some screens, not all icons are seen. These icons make navigating through the menus easy.


INRIX Traffic Maps are displayed. You have to configure your Home and Work addresses for easy one-button navigation to these places. You can also look for points of interest and get directions to those places.


I like the iPod interface. Scrolling through menus is snappy. I prefer this interface over CarMediaPlayer. Pioneer's default iPod interface is disabled when using an iPhone 5 or above with an AppRadio Mode enabled head unit, so AppRadioLIVE provides an additional alternative along with apps like CarMediaPlayer and Stezza.

To use Rdio and Stitcher you have to configure and sign in to your accounts on the service management screen of AppRadioLIVE. This can be done when your iPhone is not connected to your head unit and by navigating to the Services Settings.


View your schedule by day. Eventseeker will show you events happening around you and allow you to add events to your Calendar. You can also get directions to events.


Configure your Feedly account in Services Settings and get the news read to you with the text-to-speech feature. Weather information is available here too.


System settings can be accessed by clicking the tool icon in the bottom left corner of the screen. Here you can toggle time format, distance and temperature units, reset home/work address information and even reset all settings to default.


If you receive any notifications while connected to the head unit, these can be seen in the notifications list. The list can be accessed from any screen by clicking the speech bubble in the bottom right corner of the screen.

Home Page:

The home page is a dashboard like screen that puts all the information you need in one place. Information like the map with your current speed, weather based on location, upcoming event, now playing media, and date/time information is all shown in a pretty looking interface. You can access the settings menu and notification list from here too.


AppRadioLIVE puts all the commonly used features while driving in one sleek and easy-to-use interface. The app is great for people commuting to work daily. With AppRadioLIVE, you won't need to switch between apps for listening to music or getting directions, traffic information or the current weather.

The interface is snappy and very responsive. The iPod interface is a plus for me. Scrolling through long lists is easy and is less jerky than using CarMediaPlayer.

Getting directions to Home is easy and can be done by clicking only a few buttons.


The app is not perfect by any means. There are a few issues that exist and may get fixed with future updates.

The biggest issue is the screen flickering issue that has plagued AppRadio Mode for a while now. Before the screen would resize to a smaller resolution but that was later fixed (partially) by Apple in iOS 7. Now, instead of resizing the screen flickers, and looks like it is shrinking, but springs back to full screen instantaneously.

The flickering happens throughout AppRadio Mode but more so in AppRadioLIVE. When using steering wheel controls, for example. After a while this can get annoying and make focusing a bit difficult.

Also, I found the app crashing a lot at one point. I had to restart my iPhone 5 for it to work again.

Another issue that has affected AppRadio Mode for a while now happens when receiving a phone call. When in AppRadioLIVE the volume goes haywire sometimes, resetting to lower levels after answering a phone call. And there is the "hallmark" pop-up warning that shows up after a call. This issue is perhaps the longest running of all in AppRadio Mode and hasn't been fixed yet.


If you use your AppRadio Mode enabled head unit during short or long commutes, daily commutes or occasional runs to the store, you should give AppRadioLIVE a shot. It is a one-stop shop from Pioneer for all your commonly used in-car features.

I like the interface. It is simplistic yet functional and even though a few bugs exist, there is a good chance you will like and use this app more often than not.

Link to download:

You can download version 1.0.0 of AppRadioLIVE from the App Store today.


  1. I tried using AppRadioLive for about a week now. I think the overall aesthetic is great and it's really responsive. I haven't had any of the screen flickering problems mentioned in this review.

    However, I feel like the app needs some UI improvements. The start-up screen (the one with partitioned into quarters and the logo in the center) isn't necessary after start-up. Every time you enter one of the app "modes" (navi/music/weather/calendar) and you want to get back to the home-screen you must first return to this start-up screen. It's an unnecessary step. The "home icon" in the top-left should return you to the home-screen.

    Another issue I have is with the music portion of the app. While the music mode itself is serviceable, I wish that there were usable buttons for play/pause/skip on the home-screen so I don't have to enter the mode itself. It's a small annoyance, but if I just want to skip a track, or if I need to pause the music, I need to look at and touch the screen an extra time.

    The last point of contention is that my iPhone gets very hot while using this app. I haven't had the same issue with any of my other in-car apps, including other AppRadio apps.

    Just a couple of refinements would be nice; less time looking at/touching the screen is better for in-car applications.

  2. When driving through Europe with Data Roaming ( internet) is very expensive. Its a major setback to not being able to use the app offline. Also with the older version of the appradio you can only use the Iphone-4, having the Iphone-5 forces me to use a separate Iphone for the car only, needing to swap the simcards or use dual sim-cards. I think that an offline functionality or even offline startup will give more people the chance to use this app.


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