Pioneer’s SmartCradle for iPhones puts you back in the driving seat

Hands-free gets a new lease of life with SmartCradle riding shotgun

Smartphone GPS still trails dedicated satnav units, but Pioneer is trying to bridge that gap with its SmartCradle for iPhones. With an integrated gyro sensor and accelerometer, plus external GPS antenna, it promises to boost your satellite triangulation on the road, even when driving in tunnels and through high-rise urban areas.

The SmartCradle unit doubles as a speaker for hands-free calls and can also bus audio and video from your iPhone to the car’s stereo and, if you’re lucky enough to have them, screens. Back seat eco tips come from a red-green indicator that tells you when your driving style is messing with the planet and of course it’ll also keep your mobile juiced as you drive.

There’s an App Mode, too, that’ll output Angry Birds to a bigger screen, though it can only be used when the handbrake is on and the gearstick is set to park (it assumes that you’re American and therefore can’t drive a “shift”). No word on pricing or availability yet, but safe to say we won’t be seeing this in Europe just yet. Here’s hoping, eh?