28
Mar
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You have Android on your phone, tablet, and TV. But what about your car? If you're not only an Android fanatic, but a car stereo junkie, Clarion is serving up a fully loaded new car stereo system called the Mirage just for you.

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The Mirage is what Clarion calls a "smart car stereo" and boasts a 6.5-inch touch display panel, runs Android 2.2, and comes with Facebook and Angry Birds pre-installed (because Facebooking and playing AB while driving is a fantastic idea, and we need to promote this sort of behavior). Aside from its Android guts, the Mirage is an AVN-style double-DIN player with an SD Card slot, USB port, and Bluetooth. With all of these ports, there is one input noticeably missing: a CD disc slot. That's right, it's a car stereo that doesn't play CDs.

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That's probably not as big of a deal as it sounds, anyway, since many users - especially ones who would want this player - probably tend to use their mobile device or MP3 player for the majority of their tunes. Oh, and all you iPod/iPhone fans out there, don't stress - just because this monster runs Android doesn't mean it's not iOS friendly. You should be able to plug your iOS device into the available USB port or use the Bluetooth connection to stream your music without a problem.

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The system also has built-in GPS, radio, and the ability to display photos as a slideshow (again, there's nothing distracting about that).

If you're ready to grab your credit card and buy, however, you're out of luck for the time being - Clarion is marketing this unit specifically to car manufacturers. They're in talks with several different Malaysian and Thai manufacturers at the moment, so we could see this unit as an in-dash system fairly soon. If that does happen, manufacturers will be able to customize the unit to match their requirements, which includes adding vehicle telematics and readouts, reverse camera, steering wheel controls, a DVD player or changer, and more.

[Paultan]

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Charles Oisten

    2.2 and No Wi-Fi? Lame!

    • Mr. Mark

      yea cuz the ability to use wifi while driving is totally practical.

      • Robert

        Tether the connection from your phone and listen to Internet radio, maybe?

        • Charles Oisten

          Exactly Robert.

      • Charles Oisten

        Plus it'd be good to have turn by turn navigation with real time traffic info.

      • bobomb

        And copy stuff to it from your home network while the car's in the garage.

  • http://android-maisters.net Rafael

    Ermm no one uses cd's anymore so its logical for the unit to not have it....my car stereo has sd-card/usb port/aux no cd input...no one uses them really...

    • andddlay

      the one i got kinda recently came with all those and a cd slot. they're not dead yet!

      • bobomb

        Yes almost every stereo comes with a CD reader, but who cares? I haven't put a CD in the player in my car in years. Hell I haven't played a disc anywhere in years.

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody Toombs

          I've had the same cd in my car since I bought it a bit over 4 years ago (actually, the disc is probably warped from heat by now).

          When I listen to something, it's either the radio (if I'm desperate) or from one of the various gadgets I plug into the aux port. Just like the dvd drive in my laptop, it remains effectively useless.

    • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Aaron

      Maybe I'm just getting old, but CDs offer far superior audio quality than most digital downloads. Yes, there are lossless formats, but most people aren't aware of them or use them because of their file sizes. A friend of mine has a $3000 stereo system in his car, and he plays low bitrate music through his iPod. It kills me inside.

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody Toombs

        They are both digital storage media so it really doesn't matter on the surface...but the nature of compression, the type of connection, the way a stereo treats the type of connection, and several other factors play into the final result.

        Like you said, low bitrate music, probably pirated MP3s (I won't judge) are the likely culprit. Also if he's connecting the iPod through an AUX input instead of a 30-pin connector, the music is converting to analog very early and quickly degrades. Possibly a few other factors.

        On the other hand, a USB key loaded full of 320 kbps MP3s (or a less lossy format would be preferred) should sound indiscernible to any CD.

  • user311

    Can't wait to update my status telling everyone of the angry birds achievements I received while waiting online at my drive thru liquor store.

  • http://linuxtracker.org Mark

    I'd replace the stock stereo in my 2002 xterra with one of these...

  • NCX

    Does it use a smartphone as its source to the internet? (ie: tethering)

  • Mr. Mark

    android 2.2? wtfamireading.jpg

  • Drak

    I give it 30 days max after this is released in the US before the first lawsuit is filed against Clarion and Rovio for causing a traffic accident.

    • Hal Motley

      I was thinking that, Android is a pretty big cause of distraction anywhere. Especially in a driving environment!

      • bobomb

        Srsly. Let's hope nobody is dumb enough to play games on it while driving.

  • dan

    I was contemplating a way to make this before i just bought a regular car stereo. Although, my idea branched more off of having my phone dock into the car and do all this and stuff.

  • Tyler C

    This seems useless, honestly now.

    • bobomb

      WTF are you serious? Navigation, music, podcasts (bye bye radio), speakerphone, backup camera, and access to any other Android app there is? And this is useless? Wow.

  • spydie

    so useless in today's world where everyone has a smart phone. My 5.3" Note does all that and a hell of a lot more. No, it's not mounted in my dash... but I have a dash mount for it. And I can pop it out and take it with me so thieves aren't after it. Besides that it's running ICS and makes phone calls and has internet connectivity. Geez, this Clarion is a real lame excuse for a radio.

  • Deltaechoe

    oh red light, time knock over some pigs

  • android andy
    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody Toombs

      Oh my gawd that thing is LAGGY!!! The touch sensitivity makes it look like it's Resistive instead of Capacitive (the price difference doesn't justify cutting that corner anymore) and the refresh rate on anything besides that list towards the end is embarrassing (especially on Angry Birds). What did they do, take refurbished G1 hardware?

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody Toombs

    While WiFi isn't mentioned, it will obviously have some method for tethering or it will have it's own cellular radio (as a lot of systems already do). Other comments regarding this clearly aren't considering that the system obviously must have an internet connection to support Facebook.

    I like the idea, I find the implementation to be lacking in thought.

    The launcher appears to be a slightly blown up version of the stock launcher minus widget support. Unlike phones and tablets, this is one instance where a heavily customized launcher is desirable. I don't even see an excuse for using Froyo over Gingerbread since multitasking is a must (I know, that sounds weird, but just like on a phone you'll never want the GPS Navigation or Music to be killed and Gingerbread greatly improved multitasking features).

    The issue with this as a product (at least as described above) is the same thing half of the tablet manufacturers (and other odd products) have done wrong with Android, they think they can just give people Android and not truly optimize it for the way it should be used. For this type of product they need to feature a custom music player, it should offer tethering through it's own internet connection (assuming it doesn't rely on tethering to somebody's phone), it NEEDS to promote speech recognition and text-to-speech, there's got to be control of and information from the vehicle (they mention the possibility, which reminds me of a start-up that hasn't even thought about how to make money)...point is, this thing is missing the point completely.

    Optional features...video out support to put movies on to screens mounted in the back seats, "party" navigation/tracking so you can see where other people in a group are on the road, NFC / ICS Beam so you can pick a location and instantly instruct the car where to go with a tap, in addition lets see driver profiles so each person can have a custom set of playlists or other similarly awesome features. So many great things can be done with an in-vehicle system, and this is the best they have to show off?!!?!?

    • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Aaron

      You, sir, are hired.

  • Hal Motley

    I would only really consider an Android carputer (Yes apparently that word exists) if it did the following:

    1. Has Wi-Fi support

    2. Plays CDs (and possibly DVDs)

    3. Has support for Google Play

    4. Allows Facebook, Angry Birds and all my other favourite applications (including satellite navigation).

    5. Allows connection via Bluetooth/audio cable to my Android/iPhone for music playback and calls/SMS.

    6. Runs Android 2.3 (minimal) or Android 4.0 (optimal).

  • Idle Time

    They have to re-imagine the UI for a carputer. Can't friggin use 2.2. Kidding me?

    The icons have to bigger and the home screen can't be so crowded. They want to promote car accidents?

  • Jonathan

    i think it shouldnt have a CD/DVD slot its useless old tech that takes up screen space a adds to the cost.

  • http://www.secondpagemedia.com/blog Jad

    Add google maps, take all my money ALL MY MONEY