New Parrot setup supports Android, iOS

8 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Gadgets are back.

Parrot’s RNB 6 is a new aftermarket in-car infotainment system that runs the latest version of Android but that also supports CarPlay, Apple’s system for connecting an iPhone and its apps in the car dashboard. Support for the platforms will arrive later this year when VW rolls out its second-generation infotainment platform, which will also add MirrorLink, which allows for seamless connectivity between a smartphone and the car infotainment system. “When MirrorLink is introduced, two other interfaces will also be launched under the App-Connect label: CarPlay (Apple) and Android Auto (Google),” VW said. “Simultaneously, VW will also launch CarPlay and Android Auto in the European market.” The news is likely welcome to Volkswagen fans, who perhaps felt left out when Apple announced CarPlay last year.

The move comes as the German car firm prepares to introduce its new infotainment system in the US and give car owner the chance to link their smartphones and integrate apps into their car system through MirrorLink. “The two inventions of the century, the car and the computer, are gradually coming closer together. The unit packs a seven-inch 720p HD touchscreen display and offers a host of features even when not connected to a smartphone, including an integrated navigation system and voice control for making calls and changing music tracks.

As some have speculated, it’s likely that Volkswagen simply needed a bit more time to figure out just what it was doing with its own in-dash electronics system before it could jump on board Team Apple. Among the next generation of technologies Volkswagen is demonstrating at the show is an advanced version of its of Park Assist technology, which guides the car into parking spaces automatically.

Trained Parking uses a camera to placed in the base of the rear-view mirror that will learn your common parking manoeuvres and then carry them out semi-automatically. Because the maturity of iOS and Android, the proliferation of cloud services, and the commodification of cheap sensors and wireless chips means that it’s easier than ever to make gadgets without having to reinvent the entire wheel every time.

So if a compatible iPhone is connected to the RNB 6, users will be able to ask Siri questions, use Apple Maps or navigation and access their music libraries on the go. Other highlights from Volkswagen at this year’s CES include the debut of its Golf R Touch concept vehicle, which uses gesture recognition to determine the settings a driver is trying to access within the vehicle. That’s a lot better—on paper at least—than trying to poke at a car’s dashboard screen to turn on the heat or flip through menus while you’re driving.

And you can build an entire replacement car dashboard that’s little more than a receiver for Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto — the most exciting car stereo in years is basically an extended display for the two dominant mobile platforms. Once upon a time all these peripherals and extensions of computing used to be tethered to traditional PCs over USB, but the smartphone explosion shoved the PC out of the spotlight, rendering all that investment obsolete. Volkswagen is not the only firm showing off self-driving car concepts at CES: Mercedes-Benz wowed the crowd last night with its sleek “Luxury in Motion” self-driving car concept. The industry first tried to deal with these issues by sticking smartphone guts on the back of everything, but that was expensive and complicated, and all that extra software was a massive liability.

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