Pandora and Pioneer test drive internet radio in cars

Pioneer AVIC-U220With the auto industry seeing the second straight monthly gain in auto sales, it’s the perfect time for Pioneer Electronics, a manufacturer of car audio systems, and Pandora, the popular web based radio service, to announce a partnership  that could shake up how we listen to music while we’re on the go.

Pioneer will be making a device that will not only automatically detect Pandora settings on either an iPhone or iPod touch and display them on the navigation screen, but also host navigation and other entertainment features.

The device isn’t cheap at $1,200, but Pioneer isn’t worried because it targets some 42 million Pandora users who might be willing to pay for a complete Pandora experience both on and off the web. That large user base is partly why no cash has been exchanged in this deal as Pioneer is now able to reach a large new target market, according to The Wall Street Journal.

This isn’t the first time an internet radio advancement has been unveiled at CES. Last year, Blaupunkt, a car stereo maker, and miRoamer, the web-based radio service, announced the launch of two stereo head units for consumers to play internet radio in their vehicles. Thanks to a plug and play SIM, the device runs on a 3G network similar to a cell phone. There hasn’t been much follow up since the announcement, but both devices are available on the Blaupunkt web site.