updated 09:35 am EDT, Wed August 10, 2011
Sony 2011 car head units tie to iPhone for Pandora
Sony picked Wednesday to revamp its in-car head units with a much heavier influence on digital sources in eight new devices. The CDX-GT565UP, DSX-S210X, and DSX-S310BTX all stream Pandora's Internet radio from a connected iPhone and go beyond just basic USB or Bluetooth audio. At least on the S210X and S310BTX, all the Pandora controls shift to the receiver, including the thumbs-up/thumbs-down to tune the recommendations.
Only the S310BTX will tie into Android and BlackBerry devices for Pandora audio but represents a first for the industry, where the two haven't had aftermarket support and are usually limited to Ford's AppLink.
Most of the decks, including the CDX-GT56UI and CDX-GT660UP, have direct USB connections for taking audio directly from most devices, including iPods. Sirius XM radio is an option with a new add-on SXV100 tuner for the CDX-GT360MP, CDX-GT56UI, CDX-GT565UP, and CDX-GT660UP.
Differences between the lines are dictated not just by digital support but by power and display. The CDX-GT260MP is the starter and can push out 52W per speaker for up to four speakers, while focusing exclusively on CD audio. Upgrading to the CDX-GT40U offers generic USB audio support. CDX-GT360MP owners are the first in the line to get direct iOS support and the Sirius XM option. A CDX-GT56UI brings a seven-band equalizer and automatic leveling. It takes the GT565UP to get both Pandora and Sirius XM options along with a better sound engine and dynamic illumination. GT660UP flagship buyers get a drop-down panel, a two-line LCD, and SensMe mood-matched automatic playlists borrowed from the Walkman line.
Both of the DSX models drop CD playback but get four-line OLED screens and get SensMe playlists. The S310BTX adds Bluetooth for wireless streaming.
Prices start off at $70 for the GT260MP and increase with the GT360MP ($90), GT40U ($95), GT56UI ($100), GT565UP ($130), and GT660UP ($150). DSX models start at $200 for an S210X and climb to $280 for the S310BTX. Both CDX and DSX versions ship in September.