A Cool Internet Radio Car Kit

Photoo courtesy Livio Radio

Livio Radio’s Internet Radio Car Kit, a Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Innovations 2012 Design and Engineering Awards honoree, makes streaming music to your car stereo extremely simple. Known as “The Kit,” it’s a plug-and-play gadget that brings Internet radio and music from your phone to your FM car stereo. It also offers Bluetooth hands-free calling, USB charging and buttons to safely control the Livio Car Internet Radio application, with no monthly fees.

“The Kit will change the way you listen to radio in the car,” Livio Radio founder and CEO Jake Sigal says. “Access to radio from around the world and to content on your iPhone/iPod in the car is going to give Internet radio a place in every car stereo.”

There are more than 45,000 radio stations from around the world you can listen to, not including your own music from your library or Pandora. This is with no monthly fee.

Before you set up your Kit, it’s best you download the Livio Radio app (for free) first. You can then set up The Kit. It’s so easy to do I had it up and running in less than two minutes. Just plug it into your car’s power source, push the on button, pair it with your device via Bluetooth, then find a radio station that isn’t being used and tune in. You then choose your station(s) from the app and start streaming.

In addition, The Kit is powered by the Livio Connect API, a middleware framework protocol developed by Livio Radio that allows applications to communicate with hardware through a Bluetooth connection.

An unfortunate but bearable drawback is that you have to turn the volume up fairly high on your car stereo so you can hear the music at a decent level. Plus, when making phone calls, the folks on the other side can barely hear you. No points for high-end audio, and since it does use Bluetooth, it burns a good portion of your device’s battery. Despite that, The Kit is a wonderful, simple and inexpensive solution to sprucing up your car music options. I enjoy choosing the stations in other countries to help keep the language skills going.

The iPhone/iPad/iPod version of the Kit retails for $120 at livioradio.com/kit, and the Android model (called The Grooveshark) has a special price of $100 at livioradio.com/grooveshark.

Click Chick’s Mobile App of the Week: Vocre 2.0

Finally, a real translator that makes perfect sense! As long as you have an iPhone/iPad/iPod, Vocre 2.0 opens up a whole world of languages. You open the app, choose the language, and the translation pops up almost instantly (even with a 3G connection). If you’re sitting across from someone, the window will appear upside down so your foreign friend can easily see it without you having to flip your device over.

This upgraded Vocre also adds live translated video, translated messaging and conversation history. Most of all, this is helpful for anyone to practice their language skills (currently 23 languages available). Find Vocre 2.0 for free on the iTunes App Store.