Livio Radio, developer of a free car Internet radio app for iPhone and Android, and Dice, developer of audio integration kits for OEM car stereos, have teamed up to provide a solution for streaming Internet radio to your car without ripping out the stock receiver. It starts with an app on your iPhone and ends with hardware that takes over your car's satellite radio input.
Livio's app delivers more than 45,000 Internet radio stations and Internet streaming AM and FM radio stations via your smartphone's data connection. (The app's free version steps down to 300 stations.) The app features an interface that Livio claims is optimized for an in-car environment with chunky, easy-to-hit preset buttons and large type for metadata.
Cool music discovery features help users to find new music and stations while keeping their eyes on the road. Let's say you're listening to a station and a song you like starts playing. You can tag the song for later purchase in iTunes with the touch of a button. You can also swipe the digital tuner on the screen to have Livio search for similar music on other stations, which is great for finding new stations among the thousands available. And if you want to share a station with a friend, you can use Livio's social network integration to tweet a favorite station, post it to Facebook, or just give your friends the short five- or 6-digit Livio station ID.
The Dice Duo is a black box that installs behind your vehicle's dashboard. On one end is a connection that is wired to your car's stereo. On the other is a 30-pin iPhone/iPod dock connector. The Duo works by pretending to be a satellite radio tuner and taking over your car's satellite radio input. However, instead of getting its data from miles above the earth's surface, it's pulling audio data from a connected iPhone.
Technically, the Duo will transmit any audio that the connected iPod or iPhone can play, but its integration with the Livio app is what comes as a result of the partnership. Users can use their radio preset buttons to quickly select from preset Internet radio stations in the Livio app. Steering wheel skip controls can also be used to jump between stations. Meanwhile, the car's display will show station, artists and song data where it normally displayed its satellite radio data.
Check out the Livio/Dice system in action in the video below:
Livio Internet radio and Dice Duo (hands-on)
The Livio Car Internet Radio app for iPhone is a free download for the 300-station version. Stepping up to the $4.99 paid version gets you the full 45,000-station library. Finally, the Duo-enabled version will run you $19.99 in the App Store and will allow for connection to the Dice hardware. Additionally, Dice's Duo hardware is available at an MSRP of $189.