updated 11:25 am EDT, Wed October 20, 2010
Mercedes first to bring Pandora streaming to cars
German luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz USA recently announced a Media Interface Plus (MIP) for its cars that will let smartphone owners play or stream Pandora Internet radio through their vehicle's sound system. A first from a carmaker, the plug-and-play cable is compatible with the iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4 and a variety of BlackBerry devices. The iPhone Pandora streaming is accomplished through a USB cable, while BlackBerry owners will need to stream it over Bluetooth.
Curiously, tracks stored on the iPod or iPhone need to be streamed over Bluetooth as well. Connected Apple devices will be charged while plugged in, and users can control basic functions using their vehicle's radio or steering wheel controls.
iPhone owners will have the option of playing back audio and video on the cars' navigation screen, though the latter will only be possible when the car is stationary and requires an additional cable. Phonebooks can be downloaded to the car's infotainment system as well for voice-guided dialing.
The MIP costs $289 and will work on Mercedes-Benz vehicles with the Media Interface that is either standard or optional on models. The MIP connects to the Media Interface in the glovebox or center armrest.