Pioneer Electronics (USA) has rolled out AppRadio. Drawing upon Pioneer’s technology integration expertise and following its “Rethinking Connectivity” strategy, it’s purportedly the first in-vehicle product designed to utilize the processing power, storage capacity, network connectivity and apps of the iPhone and iPod touch (fourth generation) as the primary source for its information and entertainment capabilities.

Pioneer says the AppRadio also features the industry’s first capacitive touchscreen that enables control of most functions using similar touch and motion gestures as many of today’s most popular smartphones, but in a larger 6.1-inch screen designed specifically for safer in-vehicle operation. For safety and convenience, AppRadio features built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and an input for an optional vehicle mounted rear facing back-up camera, according to Ted Cardenas, director of marketing for the car electronics division of Pioneer Electronics (USA).

He adds that the power of AppRadio comes from the ability to update its software. The front of the unit sports just three physical buttons; a home button, a volume up button and a volume down button combined with a high resolution WVGA (800 x 480) 6.1-inch capacitive touchscreen display. This capacitive touch panel requires less pressure, responds faster and can recognize multiple touch points simultaneously, Cardenas says. Touchscreen control is used for all functions including the app interface, iPod control/playback, AM/FM radio, and Bluetooth hands-free calling features.

The Pioneer AppRadio application, available free in the Apple App Store, enables access to the data and connectivity of the iPhone 4, providing users the ability to access Google Maps and stay current with recommended compatible third-party apps.

Google Maps appears on the AppRadio screen with the same mapping information and features that consumers are familiar with. The system enables users to searc2, route to locations, view route directions and create bookmarks with the ability to drop pins directly on the map.

Pioneer’s AppRadio will be available in late June with a suggested retail price below US$500.