With Android, Car Stereo is Cool Again…

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We expected the first true Android car radio to attract attention at CES, but the headline from Switched (a sister site to Engadget) took us by surprise as it stated: “Parrot Asteroid Puts Android in Your Dash, Makes Car Stereos Cool Again.”

Parrot Asteroid, first Android Car radio:CESThat’s the headline that many of us have been waiting to see (…the car stereo is cool part).

We thought it worthwhile to revisit Parrot’s Asteroid, which we now know has a target ship date at the end of Q2, although there’s still no word on pricing.

The outstanding features on the Asteroid are that it accepts a USB AirCard for a cellular data connection plus it has an Android OS. Apps come preloaded on the device for traffic, Google Maps, Internet Radio and world radio (terrestrial radio stations from all over the world).

The device has voice control. Press a green button and it asks you who you want to call and you can respond with a name from your contacts. Then there’s a white button you press to name an artist and the device serves up music from any of the devices connected to it: USB drive, iPod, iPhone, SD card, Android or BlackBerry phone (the latter two connect over Bluetooth).

The Asteroid comes with a GPS antenna so when you plug in your AirCard you get a Google Maps connection. It won’t give you turn by turn directions but you can see where you are on a map.

You don’t get an in-car connection to the Android Market for apps, but you can update apps and remove them via USB (there’s a Web portal that lets you make the changes and save them to USB).

The Asteroid uses an ARM 9 processor. While it runs Android, it’s not a smartphone version of Android, said the company.

“People today always have their smartphones in their hands and they want to stay in touch with most of their apps. While we know they won’t have access to all their apps in a car, you still want to be connected to some. We’ll have a Fuel for Less app,” added Parrot’s Christian Coly.

Parrot is planning to partner with one or more Internet Radio companies.

Source: Parrot, Switched

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