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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Correctly Connect An Android Device To The Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120)

The Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) supports Android smartphone connectivity via different connections. Finding the correct cable kits to connect your smartphone to the head unit can be tricky. Pioneer has a few charts and diagrams that can help make the process simpler.

Through Android, users can play music from the smartphones, stream Pandora, audio streaming via Bluetooth and above all, use Pioneer AppRadio Mode with the correct cables.

Although some of the latest smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Google Nexus 5 can be connected to the AppRadio 4, there are a few compatibility issues at the moment. More on this later.

First of all, here are a few frequently asked questions and information regarding Android connectivity to the AppRadio 4...

Get It Straight: Apple CarPlay Does NOT Allow Video Playback

Apple CarPlay only displays metadata info for video files and pushes audio during playback

Contrary to a few rumors circling around, Apple CarPlay does NOT allow video playback. This is for safety reasons of course. We tried and tested all possibilities to get video files stored on the iPhone (movies, TV shows or music videos) to play in CarPlay on our Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) and this is what we found...

Browse Through Your Music Library Over Bluetooth On The AppRadio 4

Bluetooth capabilities on the Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) have received marked improvements over previous generation models. The biggest difference is the ability to browse through your music library while streaming music over Bluetooth. This couldn't be done on the AppRadio 3.

More details are below...

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Lowest Price On A Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) On Black Friday Is...

We searched high and low for the best price on a Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) for Black Friday. While none of the big retail stores have the device on a special deal, there is one place where you can find the lowest price, and it isn't even due to Black Friday.

Amazon consistently lists the AppRadio 4 at rock-bottom prices. The lowest price we found today was $479 from retailer "Electronic Express" on Amazon. Shipping is free and sales tax may be added in a few states. This price is over $120 lower than the suggested retail price ($600) not including tax and shipping charges.

Remember that prices on Amazon change all the time with the "race to zero" allowing consumers to benefit from the best prices.

Pioneer's latest head unit features Apple CarPlay to go along with a host of other features. The device is possibly the most sought-after car accessory this holiday season. To treat yourself to a brand new Pioneer AppRadio 4, visit Amazon today.

You can also start by reading our full and comprehensive AppRadio 4 review.

Pioneer Selling Refurbished AppRadio 3 (SPH-DA210) CD/DVD Model For $299 [Deals]

As a holiday sale price promotion, Pioneer Electronics is selling refurbished AppRadio 3 (SPH-DA210) head units for only $299 on their website. That's a savings of over $200 according to Pioneer's suggested retail price on the device. The SPH-DA210 model offers a CD/DVD drive with a tilting screen.

Read along for more details on this deal.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Amazon's Black Friday Deals Are On! - New Deals Every 10 Minutes!

There is no shortage of Black Friday deals these days. Amazon is running a deal marathon this year with new deals every 10 minutes. Their Black Friday event kicked off at 12 a.m. today.

Amazon serves new deals on products in the following categories: Electronics, Jewelry, Toys and more. And if you are an Amazon Prime customer, you can enjoy FREE shipping and early access to some deals.

This Is How Pandora Station Creation Works On A Pioneer Head Unit

Pioneer's 2014 models of head units include the Pandora Station Creation feature. This feature was not available in older head units like the AppRadio 3.

As the name suggests, you can now create new stations in Pandora right from your head unit. But this feature has a one limitation, probably for safety reasons. Keep reading to find out how Pandora Station Creation actually works.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Get Pioneer's Flagship AVIC-8000NEX For Only $843 [Deals]

Pioneer Electronics' flagship NEX receiver, the AVIC-8000NEX, is feature-rich. But all those robust features come at a dear price. The retail price may be well over budget for most consumers but that's if you don't care to look around for a bargain.

Black Friday must have come early this year because Amazon has the Pioneer AVIC-8000NEX for only $843.61. The device ships FREE and is sold by Car Toys. That's a savings of more than $550 over the suggested retail price ($1400). Sales Tax may be added in some states.

Click this link to check out the deal... Pioneer AVIC-8000NEX listings on Amazon. Prices change all the time but this is the lowest price we've found so far.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

WhatsApp Is Coming To Android Auto Along With Other Apps [Android Auto]

Does anyone use SMS anymore? If you exist on the bright side of messaging technology, you must know of WhatsApp. The messaging service has grown into one of the most popular options these days. The best feature of WhatsApp? Cross-platform (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia, Symbian and Windows Phone) mobile messaging, absolutely free.

Google is planning on bringing WhatsApp even closer to your world by integrating the service in its Android Auto software. And, WhatsApp will be available in Android Auto at launch, although no one knows when the launch will happen.

Here are other the other apps that are lined up to integrate Android Auto...

Android Auto Vs. Apple CarPlay - Latest From The 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show

The 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show is underway in Southern California at the moment. Google is showcasing their Android Auto software at the event. And of course, Apple CarPlay is there too.

Multiple sources are reporting how the two technologies compare to each other. There are a lot of similarities in the way things work but obviously there are a few differences too.

After reading a few reports and watching a few developer videos from Google, this is what we've learned so far...

Google Releases Android Auto API To Developers; Start Integrating!

Google has released it's Android Auto API to developers last week. The API will help developers build apps or integrate Android Auto into their existing apps. The API is a part of Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google's latest mobile operating system.

Android Auto Demo Videos Give A Bigger Insight Into The Technology [Video]

Google Developers have recently posted a few videos to their YouTube channel which showcase Android Auto. The company's in-car technology will compete with Apple CarPlay when it becomes available to consumers next year.

The videos also give instructions for developers on how to integrate Android Auto into their apps. I have included the videos below. You can watch them all in one place.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How To View AppRadio Mode In Fullscreen On The AppRadio 4 [How-To]

Those of you who have been writing in asking how to get rid of the menu bar in AppRadio Mode on the new Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120), this post is for you.

When you first launch AppRadio Mode, you will notice the menu bar on the left side which reduces the size of the display area. The menu bar has buttons for access to phone calls over Bluetooth, a home button, menu button and the mode button (looks like an arrow facing downwards).

So how do you get rid of the menu bar? It's simple.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) Review: The Best AppRadio Yet! [Full Review]

Pioneer Electronics' AppRadio line has undergone a gradual transformation over the last few years. The previous generation models had modest improvements over their predecessors. The AppRadio 3, for example, came with Bluetooth streaming and a CD/DVD drive along with a slightly faster interface.

The recently announced AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) however, takes upgrades to a whole new level over the AppRadio 3. And I'm not talking about Apple CarPlay alone. Yes, that's a big addition but there are a whole spectrum of other features that will make the device one of the highly desired head units this holiday season.

We have been testing out the AppRadio 4, which was sent to us by Pioneer Electronics, for a few days now, and this is our full in-depth review.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pioneer AppRadio 4 SPH-DA120 Vs. AVH-4000NEX... Which One Should You Buy?

Pioneer's entry level NEX head unit, AVH-4000NEX, has been available for a few months now and is probably the most popular model. But with AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) being launched, it gives potential customers an additional choice to avail of Apple CarPlay in that price range.

So, how will you decide which head unit to buy? We have shortlisted a few features which may help you make your decision easier. Take a look after the break...

Video Shows AppRadio Unchained Reloaded In Action [Video]

We found this YouTube video which shows what to expect when using AppRadio Unchained Reloaded (ARUR) with a rooted Android device. In this case, the user has an MK809III Mini TV PC Box stick connected to a Pioneer AppRadio 2 (SPH-DA100).

The video is after the break.

AppRadio Unchained Reloaded App Launched; Mirroring With Touch Control For Android

AppRadio Unchained was an open source endeavor by developers that brought full touch control for your Android smartphone on AppRadio. The mod worked with any head unit that supported Pioneer AppRadio Mode. The software was available as an independent download and required a rooted Android smartphone to work.

Developers have now launched a standalone app available for purchase on Google Play called AppRadio Unchained Reloaded which replaces Pioneer AppRadio Mode. The app mirrors the Android smartphone interface onto the head unit and allows full touch controls. It is like mounting your smartphone in your dashboard but on a bigger screen.

Full details and some additional screenshots are below.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The "Race To Zero" On Pioneer NEX Head Unit Pricing Heats Up [Deals]

Pioneer Electronics' NEX head units are some of the most desired pieces of car entertainment hardware these days. The five models feature a variety of robust features but none better than Apple CarPlay.

Although suggested retail price ranges from $700 to $1400, online sellers on Amazon offer the devices at much lower prices. We have a price comparison graphic below with links to Amazon, showing the lowest prices available at the moment.

Let your holiday shopping begin with a head unit upgrade for your car. Prices start as low as $525 for some models. Take a peek below...

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) Installation & What To Expect - Review Part 2 [Pictures]

In the second part of our Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) review process, we will look at installation and initial setup. We installed the review unit we received from Pioneer Electronics yesterday and have been testing it out ever since. Our full, in-depth review of the device will be posted in a few days.

Read through the rest of this post to see how we went about installing the device. There are also a few of our initial impressions of the AppRadio 4 included at the bottom of this post.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Let's Unbox The New Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) - Review Part 1 [Pictures]

We recently received the new Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) for review from Pioneer Electronics. The device is the latest Apple CarPlay-capable, double-DIN head unit from Pioneer and adds to their list of five NEX head units that offer CarPlay.

This is the first part of our review process - the unboxing. So lets see what's included with your AppRadio 4 purchase. Check out our unboxing pictures below.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Landscape View On The iPhone 6 Plus Makes It A Great Dashboard Install [Video]

The iPhone 6 Plus features a large 5.5-inch screen making it a good-sized device to install in your car's dashboard. We have seen iPads and iPad Minis getting the dashboard treatment but even the iPad Mini is quite a large device to install in your car.

That's where the iPhone 6 Plus comes in, bridging the gap between the smaller iPhone 6 and relatively larger iPad Mini. The 6 Plus also features landscape view like the iPads, something the iPhone 6 doesn't allow. The landscape orientation of icons makes it perfect for the dashboard.

We found this video, which was posted back in September on YouTube, showing an iPhone 6 Plus installed in a Mercedes-Benz with some high-end audio equipment. The video is from "NVSAUDIO." Watch it below...

Use An OBD-II Extension Cable To Make Your Car's Data Port Easily Accessible

The On-Board Diagnostics or OBD port in your car can be a useful source of information. The OBD-II specification became mandatory in all cars sold in the United States after 1996. OBD-II adapters are aplenty these days giving users the ability to view vehicle diagnostics on their smartphones.

The OBD-II port is usually located obscurely in your car's dashboard. There's one way to make the port easily accessible. Using an extension cable. Here are some relatively inexpensive options.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Watch Pioneer Europe's AppRadio 4 Promo Video [Video]

Pioneer Europe has made a promotional video for its AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120). The video showcases the features of the head unit, mainly Apple CarPlay.

Check out the full video below...

Finally! iOS 8 Pangu Jailbreak Now Available For Mac [Jailbreak]

After being available only for Windows users for quite some time, the iOS 8 Pangu jailbreak developed by Chinese hackers, is now available for Mac. Initially, the untethered jailbreak was unstable and did not include the Cydia store but the most recent release has added Cydia and fixed some stability issues.

More details are below...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tesla Model S Owners Check Out This Tips & Tricks Video [Video]

If you own a Tesla Model S, this video is for you. The YouTube video by "Tesla Accessories by EVannex" shows owners a list of tips and tricks for their vehicle. All information is from the owner's manual but includes stuff that is sometimes easily overlooked.

Even if you don't own a Model S, the video is worth watching as it gives an idea of the type of technology that is at work. Check it out below...

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Android Auto Developer Documents Reveal More Interface And Third-Party App Info

The last few weeks has been flooded with Apple CarPlay news. The software became available to the masses through Pioneer's head units last month and has been received with positive feedback for the most part.

The biggest CarPlay competitor will be Android Auto. Google's technology is aimed at doing what CarPlay does in your vehicle but on the Android platform. Several automakers and tech companies are on-board with Android Auto which is expected to arrive sometime in 2015.

Although few details of the software are available at the moment, Google has recently released new documentation on its developer website which gives an insight as to how the Android Auto interface will be designed and how developers will be able to integrate the technology into their apps. More details are after the break.

Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) Price Keeps Falling On Amazon [Deals]

Prices of the new Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) keep falling to new lows following what looks like 'cutthroat pricing' by online sellers on Amazon. In just the last few days, there have been a ton of sellers that list the Apple CarPlay-capable head unit for sale with prices that seem to be plunging.

The lowest priced we've found so far for a brand new AppRadio 4 is...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Check Out These User Videos Showing Audio Issue On Pioneer AVIC-8000NEX

A Pioneer AVIC-8000NEX user has reported an audio issue with his head unit. Music plays with a stuttering sound at intermittent intervals.

The user "tekki" reported the issue on AVIC411 Forums. According to him, the issue started after he updated his head unit to firmware version 1.06 and persisted even after updating to version 1.08. He says he's tried using different lightning cables and even reloading his iPhone but to no avail.

The head unit worked fine before the CarPlay update. So he tried disabling CarPlay and the issue gets fixed. He seems to be using Pandora in one of the two videos he's uploaded to demonstrate the problem. No other details are available. Here are the videos...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Google Maps Updated With New Look On iOS, Android

Google Maps has been updated to version 4.0.0 today bringing a new design to its iOS app. The flatter look goes well with iOS 8 and in fact looks like a blend of Apple's latest OS X Yosemite, in my opinion.

The Android version of the app was also updated to version 9.0 yesterday with similar improvements. Full details are below.

Retailer Pricing Puts The Alpine iLX-007 Squarely Against The Pioneer AppRadio 4

It was bound to happen! When Alpine announced its own Apple CarPlay head unit, the iLX-007, the device was believed to have a suggested retail price of $800. Suggested retail prices should be taken with a grain of salt because products end up being priced below that mark.

At $800 and lacking a few key features, the Alpine iLX-007 seemed like being overpriced compared to the Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) and the lower end NEX head units. But authorized Alpine dealers have begun listing the Alpine head unit at around $600 which puts it on par with the retail price of the AppRadio 4.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Alpine iLX-007 Availability Update; Priced Well Below Suggested Retail Price

If you're looking to upgrade your car's sound system with a CarPlay-capable head unit, you have a few options. You could choose from one of Pioneer's six head units (5 NEX and AppRadio 4) or get the newly announced Alpine iLX-007.

Alpine's receiver has a few good features like a larger 7-inch capacitive touchscreen compared to the Pioneer AppRadio 4 (6.2-inch) and smaller chassis (3-inches in depth). Alpine also boasts their own MediaXpander (MX) technology in the head unit which reproduces and restores sound quality lost during media compression.

The device has a suggested retail price of $800 and Alpine says it's already shipping to authorized dealers. Most retailers that list the item have it priced at $600. We looked for the head unit for purchase from various online retailers, and in trying to find the lowest price this is what we've found so far...

How To Fix Rare CarPlay Display Issue On Pioneer NEX

A couple of firmware updates for Pioneer NEX receivers were released last month which enabled Apple CarPlay. Some users reported display issues when using CarPlay on their head units where icons and menu bars were not displayed correctly. One of our readers had sent us a few pictures too.

Here's how the issue can be fixed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Apple CarPlay Battle: Alpine iLX-007 Vs. Pioneer NEX & AppRadio 4 [Opinion]


At $800, the newly announced Alpine iLX-007 head unit is one of the pricey CarPlay options available at the moment. The double-DIN device is the only other alternative to Pioneer's CarPlay head units (NEX and AppRadio 4). So how does it compare to the six options that Pioneer has to offer?

PRICE CUT: Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) Now Available For $526 [Deals]

If you're looking to enjoy Apple CarPlay in the vehicle you already own, Pioneer's new AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) is one of the better options at the moment. The current listings on Amazon make the device one of the lowest priced head units that offers CarPlay.

The AppRadio 4 is currently priced at $526.93 on Amazon at the time of this post and ships FREE in the United States. This is the lowest price we found for  the device by $63 (previous low was $590 on Amazon a few days back). The lowest price listing is from "Central Buys" and your purchase will be protected by Amazon's policies. Other sellers may offer similar prices on Amazon.

Here is an affiliate link to purchase...

Use The Alpine TuneIt App To Customize Sound Settings On Your iLX-007

Alpine Electronics released their own CarPlay head unit, the iLX-007 a few days ago. They also updated their TuneIt app to version 2.3 to support the new hardware and iOS 8. The app is available on iOS and Android and gives users the option of adjusting various sound settings for the best listening experience.

The latest version of the iOS version of TuneIt is now available for download. Here are some features of the app.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Alpine's CarPlay Head Unit Is The iLX-007; Full Specifications Now Available

Alpine Electronics joins Pioneer as the only other aftermarket manufacturer to offer Apple CarPlay. Their CarPlay-enabled head unit is the iLX-007 featuring a host of additional features. 

The device will rival the five Pioneer NEX receivers and AppRadio 4. Full details and specifications of the device including pricing information is below the break.