Smartphone Apps for Home and Car
I've written about car audio for Crutchfield since 2003, after four years as Crutchfield Sales Advisor, and 10 years as a music teacher. I'm an avid music listener, with a real love of classical and film music. I love having a great system in my car, and I'll still match the system in my 98 Ford Ranger (may it rest in piece) up against anything else I've heard for great SQ. I attended West Virginia University, where I received a Master's Degree in Music Performance and a Bachelor's Degree in History. Let's Go Mountaineers!
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Ralph Graves is one of Crutchfield's blog editors, and part of the company's social media team. He writes about home audio/video gear, specializing in Apple-related and wireless technologies. Ralph holds a master's degree in music composition, and his works have been released on various labels. He's served as product manager for an independent classical and world music label, produced several recordings, and worked extensively in public broadcasting. Since 1984 he's hosted a weekly classical music program on WTJU, and is also active as a blogger and podcaster.
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Heads up!Welcome to this article from the Crutchfield archives. Have fun reading it, but be aware that the information may be outdated and links may be broken.
Sure, your smartphone’s a versatile device — but were you aware of exactly just how versatile? Many consumer electronics manufacturers are now including smartphone apps with their products, making your handheld device an integral part of your home entertainment and car operation systems. Here’s a roundup of some consumer electronics that bring your smartphone into the mix with an app.
|The iLuv app makes your iPhone a core part of the iMM190 App Station dock.|
iPod®/iPhone®/iPad® powered speaker systems
Most powered speaker systems with an Apple dock also have a remote control app for your iPod touch® or iPhone. That’s the case with speaker systems from these companies:
Sometimes the apps do more
The app for the Soundfreaq Sound Platform, for example, also has the only control for the system’s FM tuner — there aren’t any on the system’s case.
Your iPhone or iPod touch is literally at the center of the iLuv iMM190 App Station dock and speaker system. Without the free iHome radio and clock apps, the iMM190 can’t operate as designed.
With its free app, you can make advanced EQ adjustments with the Audyssey South of Market Audio Dock wireless speaker system and fine tune the sound exactly to your taste.
Internet and wireless audio components
These systems and components also have compatible apps that turn your smartphone into a remote control.
- Logitech® Squeezebox™ Internet Radio
- Sonos® (Sonos offers their own remote, but you can also control your Sonos system with their iPhone or iPad app.)
- Marantz M-CR603 AM/FM/CD/Internet radio receiver
- Marantz NA7004 Network audio player/USB DAC
|With Klipsch's free app, you can use your smartphone to wirelessly set up the G-17 wireless speaker system.|
Sometimes, the manufacturer provides an app to wirelessly set up the system in your home. From your smartphone you can direct your computer to recognize the speaker system, and direct it to complete the synching process. That’s the case with these products:
- Klipsch® Gallery™ G-17 Air wireless powered speaker system
- iHome iW1 AirPlay portable wireless speaker system
Receivers and Blu-ray players
Many newer-model home theater receivers and Blu-ray players have companion iPhone and Android™ remote control apps. These apps are great for Zone 2 operation, so you can adjust the volume of your outdoor speakers without leaving your deck. Here are some options:
- Marantz Internet-ready home theater receivers
- Onkyo Internet-ready home theater receivers
- Sony Internet-ready home theater receivers and systems
- Yamaha Internet-ready home theater receivers
- Yamaha Blu-ray players
- Denon AirPlay home theater receivers
|Contour's app turns your smartphone into a viewfinder for the camera.|
Some camcorders now use apps to turn your smartphone into a remote control and viewfinder, including these from Contour:
Car Audio and Security
If you enjoy apps for music, navigation, or other uses, you don't have to give them up when you slide behind the wheel of your car. An increasing number of car stereos, like the Pioneer AppRadio™, have the capability to integrate with some of the apps on your phone, so you can listen to your favorite streaming audio or keep track of where you are when you're driving.
This app compatibility is still limited in nature, but we're constantly learning about new apps and new stereos with app capabilities. And checking them out. Here's a couple of looks at what's new, from our Crutchfield Labs.
- What's 'Appening? — A look at the types of app interactivity starting to appear on today's car receivers
- Hope for Android users? — At long last, the first app for Android users lets you control the music on your Android phone and play it on your Kenwood receiver.
Car security and remote start systems increasingly use apps to let you utilize your smartphone as a remote control and notification device — giving you control of your system anytime your phone and car are in range of service.
These products either add on to existing alarm and remote start systems, or give you everything you need in one package.
- Python DSM200 SmartStart module
- Python DSM250 SmartStart GPS module
- Python PS3000 SmartStart security/remote start system
- Python PS5000 SmartStart security/remote start system
Apps can team up smartphones and radar detectors, providing you with map displays of enforcement areas and storing histories of spots where you've had alerts. They can even connecting you with a network of other radar detector users, so you'll know about traffic hazards, speed cameras, and radar traps well ahead of time.