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Pioneer's New Car Stereo Turns Your Phone Into an Infotainment Center

LAS VEGAS — The biggest automotive trends at CES this year were all about futuristic autonomous mobility, but there were still some enticing products that drivers can experience right now.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

One example is Pioneer's new solution for owners of older cars, who either can't afford or lack space for a big touchscreen and full infotainment stack. Called the SPH-10BT, this device leverages your smartphone's display via a Bluetooth connection.

The head unit itself features mounts that can extend to fit any handset. Users can download Pioneer's Smart Sync app on iOS or Android, and so long as that app is running in the background, the software will automatically surface as soon as your phone connects to the SPH-10BT.

Everything from the media interface to controls to change the head unit's LED lighting patterns is controlled via the smartphone app, which makes for a much more streamlined experience than many other confounding aftermarket touchscreen interfaces. Additionally, the system utilizes the processor in the connected phone to process audio signals, if you choose to use the equalizer function.

It's all very clever, and most importantly, inexpensive. The SPH-10BT costs just $150 before labor, offering a reasonably priced way to make an old car just a little more connected. Additionally, because this head unit requires only a single-DIN connector, it is widely compatible with practically any car you'd care to put it in. Pioneer actually demoed it on the show floor in a nearly 50-year-old Toyota FJ40 SUV.

Additionally, customers have the option of pairing the SPH-10BT with Pioneer's ND-PS1 parking sensors, which are mounted inside the rear bumper, and deliver object detection warnings that play sound and flash the receiver's LED lights.

Both the SPH-10BT and ND-PS1 go on sale in the U.S. in February, although they're already available in Europe.

Photo Credit: Tom's Guide