Seeing which manufacturers will bake Android Auto into their latest models is cool and all, but I'm looking to see which third-party options start appearing on store shelves. After all, I bought my vehicle in 2013, and I'm not looking to replace it in the next couple of years. Fortunately Kenwood has come to CES with one that supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the DDX9902S.
Out of the box, Kenwood's unit has a tacky interface that perhaps only a car enthusiast could love. But once you plug your Android device in, the interface switches over to the one we're actually interested in. It's the same approach offered by the Parrot head unit also on display at CES.
Both Kenwood and Parrot's head units support Android and Apple devices. Neither come with prices yet, but these things tend to be expensive, so try not to wince if you have to part with over half a grand. Parrot's pre-Android Auto model already runs you 500 bucks. Hopefully Kenwood is competitive.
Kenwood Debuts Multimedia Receiver With Apple® CarPlay® and Android Auto™ in One
DDX9902S accommodates new smartphone-centric integrations for safer operation using touch and voice
LAS VEGAS – January 6, 2015 (SDG MEDIAWIRE) – At the 2015 International CES in Las Vegas, Kenwood will display the DDX9902S, the first receiver in its lineup that includes Apple® CarPlay, the smarter, safer way to use iPhone® in the vehicle. The multimedia receiver will also include Android Auto, which leverages features of an Android phone through a driver-friendly interface.
“We understand that consumers are loyal to the brand or platform of smartphone they use,” said Tony Mercado, marketing manager for Kenwood. “To that end, we wanted to create a multimedia receiver that doesn’t force the customer to choose based on his or her preferred smartphone. The DDX9902S allows customers to enjoy a safe, integrated experience with the phone they love.”
The DDX9902S features a high-sensitivity touch screen that allows the user to reliably make selections and interact with screen content. With CarPlay, familiar apps are within easy reach and display just the right amount of information. At the heart of the interaction is Siri, which enables users to control, read and reply to messages and more by simply speaking. Siri also provides access to music, podcasts and other third-party apps, and augments Apple Maps for full-featured, voice-controlled navigation.
With Android Auto, the menu bar makes it easy for drivers to select sources, including navigation, phone and music. Deep integration with Google Now shows informative cards to provide users with location- and preference-aware information at the right time, and robust voice recognition and playback deliver information safely to the driver.
Aside from the smartphone interfaces, the DDX9902S is a premium Kenwood multimedia center. Bluetooth integration enables safe phone calls and wireless music from a paired smartphone. An MHL-supported HDMI input connects to iPhone 5 and 6 models, as well as select Android-based smartphones, to charge the device, control compatible on-device apps and play its audio and video content on the receiver. Built-in control of Pandora® and iHeartRadio™ expand music choices when using a smartphone’s broadband connection, and HD Radio™ doubles or triples local programming options in CD quality.
The DDX-9902S is also SiriusXM-Ready™ and connects to the latest SiriusXMSXV300 Connect Vehicle Tuner (sold separately, subscription required), to access commercial-free music, plus premier sports talk and live events, comedy, news, exclusive talk and entertainment, and the most comprehensive Latin music, sports and talk programming in radio delivered via satellite.
Additional safety and convenience options include the ability to add a rear-view camera and maneuver safely with on-screen parking guide lines, and compatibility with factory steering wheel audio controls.
The MSRP and ship date of the DDX9902S will be announced soon. It can be seen at the Kenwood booth—No. 1702 in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center—during CES.
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