It used to be that the term “portable music” referred to carrying your 200 CDs in a zip-up case from your home to your car. Today those CD cases are in the “give away” pile in the garage. Even though people still buy CDs, many now transfer the music to their smartphones, and those who don’t buy CDs often listen to streaming music services like Pandora or iHeartRadio.
The point is, music is truly portable today, and people want to take their music with them, plug it in wherever they are and enjoy it on a larger stage, whether it be the home stereo, a beach boom box or a car entertainment system.
Home and portable solutions are quite different from the car. For starters, at home, the smartphone itself is the control unit for selecting music. Simply run a cable from the phone to the auxiliary port on the receiver or portable radio—or on more sophisticated models, pair the two units over Bluetooth—and you’re all set.
But in the car, it’s neither practical nor safe to operate your phone as a music control unit while driving. Smartphones aren’t designed to minimize distraction while you’re doing something else, which in this case would be keeping the car on the road. So while it might seem simple to use that auxiliary port on the front of the car stereo, you really need a more integrated experience to ensure you stay safe while staying entertained.
Most of the radios we offer have the ability not only to connect to your smartphone and play music through the audio system, but also to control its features. The benefit is that the radios are designed to be used while driving, with controls you can find and use by touch, and with simplified displays that don’t overload you with too much information and take your focus off the road ahead.
Another benefit of this connection is that the radio can take advantage of your phone’s Internet connection. Music streaming services like Pandora are built into the radio’s functions just like AM/FM and CD, and once your phone is connected, you can enjoy and control it as though you are listening to your favorite local radio station.
Today, most radios support connection to the iPhone or select smartphones using the Android operating system (also called Android phones), using either Bluetooth or a wired connection. In most cases, the wired connection offers more control options. An additional advantage of a wired connection is that it charges the phone’s battery, freeing up your 12-volt power receptacle.
This year, some of the newer radios are also compatible with the voice-activated virtual assistants built into your smartphone. This means you can press a button on the radio and talk to Siri (iPhones) or ask a question using Google Now (Android phones), and your answers will play through the car stereo.
Bring your smartphone to us, and we can show you how to take advantage of its features safely while in the car. We stay up to date on the latest integration technology so that your music experience is just as fulfilling in the car as it is at home or on the go.