World’s first Android powered OEM car stereo!

March 27, 2012
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How do you like the idea of a car stereo that can play Angry Birds? Well thanks to Clarion and their new Mirage car stereo system, it’s something that may arrive in the mass-marketed vehicles very soon. The new stereo was shown off in Penang this afternoon, and the system’s claim to fame is that it’s the first Android-based automotive grade car stereo in the market.

When you have Android, you have apps! Imagine being able to upgrade your car stereo’s firmware just like you do with your phone. At the demo, Clarion showed one of these units running Facebook, Twitter, and Angry Birds. With this device aiming to be a car stereo, it’s important to note that it is an AVN style double-DIN player, accepting SD cards, USB devices, and will even connect to devices over Blueooth. Sadly it doesn’t have a CD slot, but are CD’s a thing of the past? I would like to see your views in the comments thread at the bottom of this page. The Clarion Research and Development team said that the lack of a CD slot makes the device more reliable and longer lasting, since there are no mechanical components to break down.

The Mirage is also iOS friendly, so you can plug in your iPod or iPhone just as easily as you can with an Android device. There are many additions that show Clarion is thinking of marketing too, such as a vehicle data display, rear-view camera, steering wheel buttons, and additional back-seat screens and a DVD player.

The GPS navigation engine is provided by Navigon AG, a part of Garmin. They’ve compiled maps of Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore, so it’s likely that this stereo system will take off tremendously over there, since this is among the first device to have high-quality mapping of these areas.

The device boasts a 6.5-inch LCD hooked up to a touch screen graphical interface. A Samsung Galaxy Note user described the interface as “instantly familiar”. The software version is Android 2.2 Froyo, but don’t forget, although Froyo is now considered “outdated”, it is a great build that continues to serve people well! It’s also been customized for a car platform by Wind River, a wholly-owned division of Intel who provided modified software for the project.

Right now, Clarion is marketing the Mirage to car manufacturers and assemblers. The boss divulged that the company is talking with Proton, Perodua, GM Thailand, Nissan Thailand, and Nissan Malaysia. How long before they try marketing to the rest of the world, or before other companies come up with their own versions!

Would you like to have an Android-powered stereo system, or perhaps full on Android integration throughout the car?

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