Pandora Internet Radio app playback and control are old hat for car audio receivers--that tech's been around since CES 2010. However, with the exception of one OEM implementation, it's mostly been an iPhone-only affair, with Android users being left out in the cold. That's about to change with the announcement of the Sony DSX-S310BTX, the first aftermarket car stereo to offer Pandora integration with Android and BlackBerry devices.
The DSX-S310BTX communicates with a paired Android or BlackBerry phone via Bluetooth, taking control of the Pandora app and streaming audio wirelessly. Users get the standard Play, Pause, and Skip controls in addition to the Pandora-specific thumbs-up and thumbs-down rating of songs. From the DSX-S310BTX's four-line OEL display, users will also be able to browse their custom Internet radio stations and view the title and artist of the currently playing song, and, if they wish to, tag the artist or song for later retrieval and purchase.
Of course, iOS users will still be able to take advantage of their Pandora apps through the DSX-S310BTX's one-wire USB/iPod connection on the front panel. That USB connection also gives access to media stored locally on the iPod, iPhone, or other USB storage device. Likewise, the Bluetooth wireless connection allows the DSX-S310BTX to serve as a speakerphone for hands-free calling thanks to its own microphone and the car's speakers.
Joining the DSX-S310BTX in Sony's new mechless receiver lineup is the DSX-S210X, which loses its Bluetooth connectivity and as a result Android and BlackBerry Pandora connectivity--it still has iOS Pandora control. As "mechless" receivers, neither of these units features a CD player; instead their internals have been replaced with a Tune Tray storage space with an internal USB connection for your iPod, iPhone, or other portable media player. Interestingly, neither receiver is compatible with the new unified SiriusXM Connect module as Sony's new CDX line of CD receivers is. However, older Sirius or XM tuners can still be used via the units' S-Bus connection.
The Sony DSX-S310BTX and DSX-S210X will retail for $280 and $200 respectively when they hit 12-volt retailers in fall 2011.