Pioneer bringing Pandora to the dashboard with new iPhone app

Pioneer is taking a big step in bridging the two landmasses of Internet radio and vehicle entertainment. By utilizing a free iPhone app, Pandora Link, the company is bringing Pandora to two of its latest systems, the Pioneer AVIC-Z120BT and AVIC-X920BT navigation systems. Simply run the app and connect the iPhone to head unit with the USB cable; the in-dash radio system will then displays all of Pandora’s trademark functions like thumbs up and thumbs down formatted in Pioneer’s great-looking interface.

The two worlds are bound to collide eventually with a truly integrated solution, but until in-dish systems offer mobile wireless modems, a smartphone is currently required. Ford is bringing a very similar solution to first its 2011 Fiesta line later this year, and has plans to roll it out to future Sync vehicles next year. Ford’s system, however, works with Android and BlackBerry phones instead and works over Bluetooth while Pioneer’s system relies on a USB cable.

Perhaps relying a mobile phone rather than building in the function isn’t all that bad. Many users that will want this function likely already have a smartphone and possess the technical know-how to connect the two. But building in the function will no doubt introduce the platform to more users. The market will no doubt decide the future.