Mercedes has a new $298 accessory available now that adds another level of smartphone compatibility to its existing in-vehicle controls of iPods and aux audio. The Media Interface Plus allows the car to stream audio from an iPhone, BlackBerry, or any other compatible Bluetooth music player (we're guessing A2DP, though Mercedes doesn't specify). The MIP can also control the Pandora app on the iPhone and BlackBerry, and other features like SMS and email reading / writing are forthcoming. There are iPod / iPhone and Mini-USB plugs for charging, and an optional cable can pull video from your iPhone as well and display it on your in-dash screen -- when the car is at a standstill, of course.
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In-Vehicle Connectivity Takes a Step Forward With Introduction of 'Media Interface Plus' On Mercedes-Benz Vehicles

New Vehicle Accessory Brings Pandora Smartphone Application and Wireless Music Streaming

MONTVALE, NJ and PALO ALTO, Calif., Oct. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) today announced the availability of the Media Interface Plus (MIP), an innovative new vehicle accessory which enables drivers to retrofit their Mercedes-Benz to play and control Pandora (the leading personalized radio application) as well as other streaming audio content from their Smartphone, using the vehicle's premium audio system.

Media Interface Plus expands the basic functions of the vehicle's Media Interface (standard or optional depending on model), enhancing in-vehicle connectivity. A plug-and-play device, MIP seamlessly integrates with the Mercedes-Benz mbrace suite of services and Smartphone apps. It requires no installation: customers simply connect MIP to the existing Media Interface outlet (in the glove compartment or center armrest) and enjoy an unprecedented range of new features using the existing intuitive user interface.

"Media Interface Plus is an exciting extension of our commitment to provide cutting-edge, versatile entertainment solutions for Mercedes-Benz vehicles," said Christian Treiber, general manager of after-sales business development for MBUSA. "We were the first vehicle manufacturer to fully integrate the iPod and launch mbrace Smartphone apps that control vehicle functions from the iPhone and BlackBerry and extended Mercedes-Benz Concierge beyond the vehicle. We are always looking to push the boundary of in-vehicle connectivity to keep pace with our customers' lifestyles and expectations."

The MIP provides an easy-to-use interface with the Pandora application running on any iPhone 3G, 3GS or iPhone 4. For BlackBerry devices, the MIP enables Bluetooth wireless audio streaming of Pandora as well as simple control of the currently playing track. A Bluetooth wireless link is also used to stream and control audio tracks from iPod, iPhone or any other consumer electronics devices supporting Bluetooth audio streaming.

The result is seamless integration of outstanding sound quality, the ability to charge an iPod or iPhone, and the convenience of using familiar interfaces to access the new features it offers through radio and steering wheel controls for music playback.

Additionally, when connected using a special video cable, the Media Interface Plus enables customers to play iPod or iPhone video content on the vehicle display when the vehicle is at a standstill.

The Media Interface Plus was developed in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc. (MBRDNA) in Palo Alto, California, the heart of the Silicon Valley. Johann Jungwirth, president & CEO, MBRDNA commented, "Once again Mercedes-Benz demonstrates its technological leadership with this product as first-to-market integration of Pandora Internet Radio by an automotive OEM. We continue to embrace trends and drive innovations which enable our customers to wirelessly access additional mobile applications and stream preferred content into Mercedes-Benz vehicles in an intuitive and easy manner with future upgrades and next generation products."

The Media Interface Plus is an original Mercedes-Benz Accessory and is now available for purchase for a one-time cost of $298 at Mercedes-Benz authorized dealers.

About Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc.
Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc. (MBRDNA) headquartered in Palo Alto, California, was founded in 1995, to focus on research, advanced engineering, product development and testing, as well as new advanced design concepts. Innovations include the integration of the iPod and iPhone into Mercedes-Benz models. As well as the "Search and Send" feature, which is an easy and convenient way to plan your trip destinations with Google Maps and send them to the vehicle equipped with mbrace. One of its most recent product innovations is the smart drive app for the iPhone. The company continues to deliver the innovation that extends the technological leadership of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 12 model lines ranging from the sporty C-Class to the flagship S-Class sedans and the SLS AMG supercar.

MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans in the US. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com.