Pioneer, a year after plasma

MG Rover owner Shanghai Automotive: part of Pioneer's Chinese plan

MG Rover owner Shanghai Automotive: part of Pioneer's Chinese plan

It's focusing a lot of its attention on emerging markets, and lower-priced navigation systems. It has been negotiating with Shanghai Automotive Industry, a big player in China's fast-growing domestic car industry and the owner of MG Rover, to form an alliance. This, it's proposed, would allow the two to develop both hardware and software for navigation systems, and also a traffic information system for Chinese motorists.

That alliance, along with input from Mitsubishi Electric, may also allow Pioneer to develop lower-priced navigation systems – an area in which the company has traditionally been lacking. This thinking may also inform the licensing deal recently signed by company president Susumu Kotani (pictured) with Chinese retailer Suning Appliance, allowing the sale of Pioneer-branded TVs made locally.

Satnav meets the internet
But it's not all about the low end of the market. At this year's CES in Las Vegas, having relocated itself from the main hall to that dedicated to in-car electronics, Pioneer announced the impending launch of advanced navigation products based on its Platform for Aggregation of Internet Services, or PAIS.

Using Intel's Atom processor, this merges navigation and internet access, for example allowing a satnav system to search the web for local information, play internet radio, or use smartphone apps. It will also encompass social networking, music, video and TV.

The company is proposing PAIS as an open standard, and expects products to be on sale this Autumn.

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Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.