CES in January was where we first saw the nearly 6-month old Android Auto begin to make an appearance. Kenwood was one of the partners who showed off their Android Auto head unit, and today they’ve announced the availability of two Android Auto units, at least in the US.
Kenwood has announced that the Kenwood Excelon DDX9902S and Kenwood DDX9702S head units are now shipping to retailers with a MSRP of US$950.00 and US$900.00, respectively. Just like other head units on the markets, the Kenwood models also feature compatibility with Apple’s CarPlay technology, so no matter which of the most popular phones on the market you use you should be able to plug them in.
In terms of specs, their product pages don’t appear to be live as yet, but Kenwood advise:
As of today, Kenwood has only announced the units for the US market, but we will be following up with Kenwood Australia regarding general availability of the units here in Australia.[showhide type=”detailedspecs” more_text=”Show Press Release” less_text=”Hide Press Release”] LONG BEACH, CA – June 24, 2015 (MEDIAWIRE) – At the 2015 International CES, KENWOOD introduced the two multimedia units that would serve as flagships for its KENWOOD and KENWOOD Excelon lines. The units are not only considered topline models because of their feature sets, but also because of their “future” sets; namely, the inclusion of Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™. Today, the maker of premium entertainment systems for the automotive environment announced that the KENWOOD Excelon DDX9902S and KENWOOD DDX9702S are shipping to retailers, with suggested MSRPs of $950.00 and $900.00, respectively.
The DDX9902S and DDX9702S are currently the only aftermarket receivers equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that allow users to switch between connecting an iPhone® or Android™-based phone without having to manually change settings or reset the unit. This enables multiple drivers of the same vehicle to plug in the phone of their choice and enjoy their entertainment options and driver-centric apps.
Once a smartphone is plugged in, voice recognition and voice playback become the primary means of controlling audio and entertainment from the smartphone. With Apple CarPlay, Siri® enables users to control, read and reply to messages and more by simply speaking, and provides access to music, podcasts, and Apple Maps for full-featured, voice-controlled navigation. With Android Auto, Google™ voice actions let drivers and passengers play music selections, get driving directions and hear turn-by-turn navigation, while informative Google Now™ cards highlight location- and preference-aware information at the right time.
The two double-DIN DDX units are designed to be the center of a vehicle’s entertainment and information system. A large, 6.95-inch resistive touch display puts navigation, back-up camera view (camera required, sold separately), and a wealth of audio / video entertainment options at the driver’s fingertips. Each is equipped with Bluetooth technology to enable handsfree phone conversations as well as playback of streaming media from a Bluetooth-enabled phone or media device.
Both units also feature built-in HD Radio®, an HDMI® input with MHL® support, and DVD playback. They are also SiriusXM-Ready™, connecting to the latest SiriusXM SXV300 Connect Vehicle Tuner featuring enhanced functionality such as album art, TuneStart™ and TuneScan™ (sold separately, subscription required). In addition, native control of Pandora and iHeartRadio provide an integrated entertainment interface when using a connected smartphone.
“We are excited to have these units available to consumers in time for summer,” said Tony Mercado, marketing manager for KENWOOD’s car electronics division. “Smartphone users have heard about Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the media, and how as many as 40 models of 2016 and 2017 vehicles will come equipped with one or the other. Today we are delivering both in a single chassis, well before most automakers. Combined with our years of automotive electronics know-how, we are delivering a premium, safe smartphone experience in the vehicle.”