Considering its a good 18 months since Google announced its Android Auto initiative, it’s taken a while for compatible head units to become readily available in the market. That’s starting to change this year though, with units shown off at CES 2016 from Pioneer, Kenwood and Parrot.
You should be aware that most of these units are probably US-specific SKUs as they feature things like Sirius XM support that isn’t needed in Australian models. Still, we’d expect to see something like them
Pioneer’s 2016 product range is broadly identified as the X200 series, with the higher end models attracting a higher number in place of that X. The new addition to the Android Auto range this year is the AVH-4200NEX which is a lower-end unit without Pioneer’s own GPS navigation features, helping to keep the price down. If you’re committed to Android Auto (or Apple’s Car Play), you probably won’t miss that feature as your connected phone will be able to take on those duties. Otherwise, AVIC-7200NEX and AVIC-8200NEX represent evolutions of the company’s existing Android Auto-capable products.
JVCKenwood had two Kenwood-branded head units on display at CES. The DNX893S and DDX9903S both have almost-7-inch capacitive touch screens and support HiRes Audio and use of a secondary display to show turn-by-turn navigation.
After the disappointing cancellation of Parrot’s Android Auto head unit last year, it’s good to see them return with the NIS 7100+ infotainment system. The NIS 7100+ is actually an Android-powered device with its own media player, web browser and voice recognition system and it also supports Android Auto and Car Play.
Parrot had Android and Apple phones integrated into the display at their booth in order to demonstrate both phone connectivity options and had the box powering their Asteroid head unit on display alongside.
We’ll be checking in with each of the companies’ Australian representatives to find out about local availability of these – or similar – units in the coming weeks.