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Thursday, April 30, 2015

New Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) Devices Ship With Firmware Version 1.08

I recently received an interesting tip and the picture above from one of our readers, Ian. He recently purchased a Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) and discovered it's running firmware version 1.08. What makes this interesting is that Pioneer's website only has version 1.07 as the latest firmware which was available back in October, 2014.

Version 1.08 is nowhere to be found for download on any of Pioneer's websites (US or Global). Whether there's anything different in version 1.08 from the previous 1.07 is not clearly known, but a forum thread in Apple Support Communities may offer some clues.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Meet KeySmart - The Modern, Seamless Key Carrying Solution

This product has nothing to do with Car Technology, but has everything to do with the bunch of keys that hang around your car keys. Meet KeySmart - an innovative way to organize the keys you lug around with you, everywhere you go.

KeySmart puts all your keys in order in a sleek looking contraption. Check out more details below.

Siri Could Soon Give You Navigation Instructions Like A Human

By now, we are all used to the computerized tone of voice assistants like Siri giving us navigation instructions. How often does this happen: Siri says, "Your destination is on the right," but you still fail to see that little donut shop you're looking for.

That mechanical way of getting directions may change soon though. Instead of saying, "Your destination is on the right", Siri could soon be telling you, "Your destination is behind OfficeMax." In other words, more human-like.

Why should we expect this change?

Watch The Heads-Up Display On The 2015 Hyundai Genesis In Action [Video]

The 2015 Hyundai Genesis features all the latest safety technology available at the moment. Multiple sensors built into the vehicle helps drivers stay safe at all times.

All the relevant information gathered from these sensors is projected on the heads-up display in the Genesis. The display which is in the driver's line of sight yet meant to be non-distracting, will display information on like speed, navigation, Lane Departure Warning System, and Blind Spot Detection.

The folks over at AutoBlog took the 2015 Hyundai Genesis for a spin recently and demonstrated just how the heads-up display works. Watch the video below...

Monday, April 27, 2015

Nearly 5 Months Later, My AppRadio 4 Anti-Glare Screen Protector Still Rocks!

If you own a double-DIN head unit in your car (or any device with a glossy screen), you must have experience glare on a bright and sunny day. Most often the glare makes it impossible to read the screen. I used to hate not being able to see the screen on my Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120), especially when using navigation.

But I managed to solve the glare problem quite successfully about 5 months ago with a DIY screen protector. I posted my experience and a short how-to guide here and that post has been quite popular ever since.

Today, nearly 5 months later, I am happy to report that the screen protector still rocks and continues to keep the glare away along with a couple of other issues!

[UPDATE] Apple Watch & CarPlay - Can They Work Simultaneously With An iPhone?


UPDATE: It turns out that CarPlay works without a Bluetooth connection at the moment. With Bluetooth turned off on the iPhone, I connected it to my AppRadio 4 and CarPlay launched without an alert. I was even able to make a phone call without Bluetooth, which begs the question: Does CarPlay require Bluetooth at all? This may change when CarPlay goes wireless though. I have updated this post to reflect this new finding.

The first wave of preorders for the Apple Watch reached customers yesterday. What I've been curious to know is whether you can use your Apple Watch to control CarPlay in any way.

In a post a few weeks back, I threw some speculations around on this topic and what the possibilities would be for an Apple Watch to play nice with CarPlay. These are the few thoughts I had...

BMW Shows Off Smart Eyewear Called MINI Augmented Vision

Google Glass may have failed at becoming a reality but Augmented Reality (AR) devices haven't lost the battle yet. A few companies are still investing in the technology and BMW is one of them.

The automaker unveiled MINI Augmented Vision recently, a pair of smart eyeglasses which are powered by MINI Connected. The project is aimed at "fusing mobility/automotive applications with the driver-centric MINI lifestyle".

BMW made the announcement through its MINI website in a press release last week. Check out what the glasses look like...

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Waze Headed To Android Auto, Could Make Your Drive Smarter

Waze is coming to Android Auto. But not in the way you think.

According to a report published on Mashable, Google is planning on bringing some of Waze's most powerful and useful features to their in-car software. Integrating Waze into Android Auto's mapping service could make your drive smarter. But there's more!

HTC Working On An In-Car Infotainment System To Rival Android Auto, CarPlay [Rumor]

Smartphone manufacturer HTC is rumored to be working on a brand new in-car infotainment system to rival Google's Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The project is being codenamed "Cello" and will bring things like navigation, media, and even night vision to your car's dashboard.

Here are some extra details...

This Koomus Car Mount Will Work With Any Smartphone You Own [Car Mount Spotlight]

Finding the perfect car mount for your smartphone isn't always easy. Depending on the vehicle you drive and your dashboard setup, your choices will vary. So if you're in a hunt for a good smartphone car mount, this may be one to look at.

The Koomus Air Vent Universal Smartphone Car Mount supports almost every smartphone in the market at the moment. It has plenty of nifty features too. More details are below the break.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

These CarPlay Compatible Apps Have Already Added Apple Watch Integration..

Apple Watch. The latest Apple device.

Apple CarPlay. Been around a while, but still very new.

How do those two work together? Well, let's see which CarPlay compatible apps have added Apple Watch integration first. That could be a major requirement for you to be able to control CarPlay from your wrist.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Nokia's HERE Maps Draws Interest From Uber, Facebook, BMW And Even Apple?

Imagine a product that draws interest from companies like Facebook, Apple, BMW, Amazon, and Uber. Nokia's HERE Maps is doing just that.

According to a German magazine, Manager Magazin, the list of interested buyers for the mapping service is getting longer. Citing people familiar with the matter, Manager Magazin reports even a U.S. private equity firm Hellman & Friedman is interested.

So what does Nokia have to say about all this interest in HERE?

Watch This AutoMate Demo Video - Android Auto Interface On Your Smartphone

Just two weeks ago, I posted about AutoMate, a hack that allows users to run the Android Auto interface on their smartphone screen. To be able to use the hack, which is in beta right now, you will have to get an invite as a beta tester from the developer. But once you're on board, AutoMate seems to work pretty well.

Check out this demo video below...

TuneIn Radio Is The Latest Apple CarPlay Compatible App

I tweeted this out yesterday: "Finally, local radio on CarPlay".

Thanks to TuneIn Radio, local radio stations can now be streamed in CarPlay. The app was updated to version 7.3 with CarPlay compatibility. TuneIn offers over 100,000 radio stations to stream ranging from sports and news to music and talk radio.

More details on the CarPlay interface are below.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Kickstarter Project Promises USB-C Car Charger For New MacBook

So you went out and bought a brand new MacBook. That invisibly slim, retina-display, 12-inch MacBook with only one USB-C port which Apple launched earlier this month. The shiny new hardware has come under some criticism for having just one USB-C port but that discussion is for another forum.

Why am I telling you about a MacBook on this website? Its because I came across a car charger made specifically for that device which you can pledge for on Kickstarter for quite a low price. Let me tell you more.

Apple Expands CarPlay Availability To Ten New Countries This Month

When CarPlay was first announced by Apple, it was going to be available only in a handful of countries at launch. The list of countries has slowly grown since then. Just this month, Apple added 10 new countries to that list.

Apple's iOS Feature Availability page shows the full list of countries where their in-car software will be available. Earlier this month Apple added Brazil, China, India, Thailand and Turkey to that list. And a few days back, these five countries were added to make the list 25 strong...

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Bring Android Auto To Your Car With The Pioneer AVH-4100NEX For Only $526

The title of this post says it all. If you own an Android smartphone running Android 5.0 Lollipop, you owe it to yourself to get Android Auto in your car. It is the safer and smarter way to use Android apps while you drive.

The least expensive option to bring Google's latest in-car software to the vehicle you already own is the Pioneer AVH-4100NEX head unit. And this device which is priced at $700 by the manufacturer can be yours for only $526 through Amazon.

The AVH-4100NEX features a 7-inch touchscreen with multiple connectivity options including Apple CarPlay-comaptiblity and a full range of robust features.

Click the affiliate link below to check out this deal...

Check out the Pioneer AVH-4100NEX on Amazon

Note: Other requirements to install a double-DIN aftermarket head unit can be obtained by contacting your car manufacturer or local car audio store. Full specifications on the AVH-4100NEX can be found on Pioneer Electronics' website. Image source: Android Auto.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Not Compatible With Android Auto?

Samsung's "next big thing" smartphone, the Galaxy S6, reportedly does not work with Android Auto. In spite of having Android 5.0 Lollipop, many users are reporting their second generation Pioneer NEX units do not launch Android Auto at all after connecting to an S6.

Reportedly, the following message pops up on the Pioneer head unit...

Google's Android Auto Compatibility Check Tool Doesn't Seem To Work

Google has set up an online tool for checking if your smartphone is compatible to work with Android Auto. The link needs to be accessed from your smartphone's browser where it will tell you the status of your device by running a hardware and software check.

Unfortunately, the tool doesn't seem to work very well. According to multiple reports, the response received from the check was not consistent with test results. For example, smartphones that ARE compatible with Android Auto were being reported as incompatible.

More details are below.

JVC Kenwood Drops Hint On Possible CarPlay + Android Auto Head Unit Release Date

Back at CES 2015 earlier this year, JVC Kenwood unveiled plans on entering the Apple CarPlay + Android Auto playing field with a couple of double-DIN head units. At the time, the two head units announced were the DDX9902S & DDX9702S.

The announcement included a possible release date of "mid-2015" but no pricing information was mentioned. However, in a recent Facebook post this week, the aftermarket head unit manufacturer has offered a more specific release date.

BMW To Recall 91,800 Mini Coopers Over Faulty Air Bag Sensors

Mini Coopers are the latest vehicles to be recalled as BMW of North America are getting ready to recall 91,800 cars. The reason for the recall? Faulty front-passenger air bag sensors.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the air bags in affected vehicles may not trigger in a crash. The sensor would fail to detect the presence of a passenger in the front seat, thereby not triggering when needed.

The affected models are as follows...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

iOS 8.4 Beta Adds Audiobooks To CarPlay Through iBooks; Music App Redesigned

iOS 8.4 beta was seeded to developers earlier this week. There are a couple of changes to CarPlay being reported through various sources.

The iOS Music app has been redesigned and with Apple scheduling their annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) for June 8-12 this year, they are expected to announce their brand new streaming music service at the event.

Here are a few details on iOS 8.4 beta...

With WWDC 15 Being Scheduled By Apple, What Should We Expect?

Mark your calendars. This year's installment of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 15) has been scheduled for June 8-12 in San Francisco, California. Apple has set up a page for the event on its website, calling it 'The epicenter of change'.

If past editions of the conference are anything to go by, here's what to expect at this year's event...

Audio Books By Audiobooks Is The Latest Apple CarPlay Compatible Third-Party App

You would think Apple would keep their CarPlay page updated with the latest list of compatible apps. But, the latest CarPlay-compatible third-party app, Audio Books by Audiobooks is not featured in Apple's CarPlay section of its website.

Nevertheless, the Audiobooks app has been CarPlay-compatible since March 31. Here are some more details and CarPlay screenshots...

Thursday, April 16, 2015

40% OFF - Pioneer AVIC-8100NEX With CarPlay & Android Auto Priced Under $900 [Deals]

The 'race to zero' in the aftermarket head unit industry is a great thing for consumers. Constantly dropping prices make relatively expensive head units more affordable with every passing week.

Take Pioneer Electronics' newest flagship AVIC-8100NEX for example. This second-generation NEX head unit is possibly the best aftermarket solution available at the moment. It offers both, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, in addition to connected features like AppRadio Mode, MirrorLink etc. and other robust features.

Suggested retail price on the AVIC-8100NEX is a whopping $1400. But you can purchase the head unit today at massive discounts from retailers like Amazon and eBay through reliable third-party sellers.

Take a look at these latest low prices...

Pioneer AVIC-8100NEX
Buy on Amazon: $864.26
Buy on eBay: $859.98

At those prices, that's a savings of almost $550 or 40%! Click the affiliate links above to purchase.

The MagBak Case Is Possibly The World's Thinnest Car Mount Solution [Kickstarter Project]

I always have an eye out for a convenient phone mount solution for the car. There are countless options when it comes to phone mounts but not all of them are aesthetically pleasing or practical. Bulky mounts can be a site for sore eyes if you are like me and like minimalism.

If you own an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, you may want to take a look at the MagBak Case for iPhone. This Kickstarter project is by Alex Baca + 1Lss Inc., the makers of MagBak mounting options for the iPad & iPad Mini which have been very successful projects in the recent past.

The MagBak design uses strong magnets to mount your device to virtually any surface. The MagBak Case for iPhone is specifically designed to be help mount your iPhone on your car's dashboard. There isn't much time left to back this project so you may want to hurry.

More details are below...

Stitcher Radio For Podcasts Updated With Apple CarPlay Improvements For iOS 8.3

Stitcher Radio for Podcasts is one of the few Apple CarPlay-compatible third-party apps available at the moment. The app is a podcast streaming app which is an alternative for Apple's own Podcasts app (which is also CarPlay-compatible). It additionally streams news and public radio channels too.

Stitcher got updated to version 6.3.1 recently with a few improvements and bug fixes. Here's the list of changes...

It Might Be A While Before We See An iOS 8.3 Jailbreak [Jailbreak]

Here's some bad news for those of you using a jailbroken iPhone at the moment and waiting to upgrade to iOS 8.3 - It might be a while before we see a stable, untethered jailbreak for Apple's latest software.

Apple released iOS 8.3 a week ago and developers in the jailbreak community sifted through the code to find out that most of the exploits being used in the current TaiG jailbreak have been patched by Apple.

Renown jailbreak developer MuscleNerd, tweeted this last week...

Friday, April 10, 2015

iOS 8.3 And Pioneer AppRadio Mode - Have Existing Issues Been Fixed?

Pioneer's AppRadio Mode, the feature that allows you to run smartphone apps on a compatible head unit, and Apple's iOS seem to run hand-in-hand when it comes to bug fixes. AppRadio Mode was launched back in 2011 and since then has seen many new features added and a lot of existing features develop issues.

Pioneer customers who own AppRadio Mode-capable head units have had a roller coaster ride so far. Most of AppRadio Mode's problems arise when Apple updates iOS. Couple that with the relatively slow support from Pioneer to catch up with the iOS updates and you have a recipe for frustration.

So when Apple released iOS 8.3 this week, how did it affect AppRadio Mode? Did existing issues get fixed? I took AppRadio Mode on a Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) for a spin with an iPhone 6 running iOS 8.3 and this is what I've found so far...

Where Is The Wireless CarPlay Feature In iOS 8.3?

Contrary to what's being reported, the wireless CarPlay setting is no where to be found in iOS 8.3.

Apple released its latest version of iOS a couple of days ago and much was being made about CarPlay finally working wirelessly. But the after searching high and low, the CarPlay menu in General Settings is not present in iOS 8.3.

So what happened to wireless CarPlay?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

iOS 8.3 Released With Wireless CarPlay And Other Features [UPDATE: Wireless CarPlay Missing!]


UPDATE: It looks like Apple may have skipped the wireless CarPlay feature in iOS 8.3. More details coming soon.

Apple has released iOS 8.3 today with a bunch of new features and bug fixes. The biggest addition to car entertainment is wireless CarPlay.

Here's What's New In iOS 8.3 Including Information On Apple CarPlay

iOS 8.3 brings plenty of new features and bug fixes to the software inside your iDevice. Apple released the update yesterday and everyone has been combing through the software to find out what's new.

Car enthusiasts are more interested in what's new with CarPlay. Here are more details on what we know so far...

Say Goodbye To Unlocking Your iPhone To Use CarPlay In iOS 8.3

Remember the prompt to unlock your iPhone each time you connect it to your CarPlay-capable head unit? Well, it's time to say goodbye to that pop-up!

Apple is finally giving users the option to stop the prompt from appearing and allow CarPlay to launch the moment you connect your iPhone to the head unit. iOS 8.3 which was released yesterday, has made that possible. More details are below.

Monday, April 6, 2015

AutoMate Brings The Android Auto Interface To Your Smartphone

Android Auto has been available for a few weeks now but its adoption has been slow. Firstly, it only works with a compatible smartphone running Android 5.0 Lollipop, which means, unless your provider/manufacturer has rolled out the update, you won't be able to use Android Auto.

Secondly, you will need a compatible aftermarket head unit. Currently, only Pioneer Electronics' second generation NEX receivers are Android Auto capable. But those start at around $500.

A relatively inexpensive alternative could be AutoMate, an app being developed which will bring the Android Auto interface to your smartphone. Read along for more details.

Visit 'Apps For Android Auto' On Google Play For Latest Compatible Apps

Android Auto is very much in its infancy at the moment with just a handful of third-party applications being compatible. And now, discovering those apps has been made easy by Google with the 'Apps for Android Auto' page. That section will keep populating as time wears on.

According to the 'Apps for Android Auto' section, the following applications are currently Android Auto compatible...

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Use Pioneer's FitGuide To Upgrade Your Car's Entertainment System

I had posted about this a few months ago. Pioneer Electronics has an online "FitGuide" which can be used to find the perfect sound system for your car. No matter what car you drive or how old it is, upgrading the head unit or sound system is possible in most cases.

The in-car entertainment software that's dominating the field right now is Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto. The great thing about aftermarket head units is that you can get to enjoy that piece of technology in the car you already own.

Pioneer's second generation NEX head units offer both CarPlay and Android Auto. But to make sure those or any other double-DIN head units fit in your car, the FitGuide tool is a great place to start.

Here's how to use it...

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pioneer AppRadio 2 & AppRadio 3 Encountering Issues With iOS 8.2

Whenever Apple releases a new version of iOS, older generation AppRadios and head units run into issues. What makes things worse is that Pioneer doesn't update the firmware of their older devices to support new software. Which means, you either stop using the hardware inside your car or skip the iOS update.

Various user feedback and forum threads have brought to light the current issues that older generation head units are encountering with iOS 8.2. Apple released the update at its media event last month. If you own a first generation AppRadio (SPH-DA01/SPH-DA02) or AppRadio 2 (SPH-DA100) or maybe even an AppRadio 3 (SPH-DA110/SPH-DA210), you may have run into one of the following issues...

Latest Technology Could Make Drowsy Driving A Thing Of The Past [Video]

An Australian Company called Seeing Machines is hard at work developing a head-tracking system for vehicles that could eliminate drowsy driving in the near future. The device being developed has a wide range of capabilities.

Read along for more details.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Pandora Internet Radio Will 'Definitely Be In CarPlay,' Says Company CFO

Apple CarPlay has only a handful of music streaming apps in its compatibility list - iTunes Radio, Beats Music, Spotify and iHeartRadio. The big competitor missing in that list has been Pandora Internet Radio.

But seems like it won't be long until Pandora joins the Apple CarPlay family.