First Android Car Radio USB Connection on Way

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Until now, if you wanted to connect your Android phone to the car radio you had two options: Bluetooth or the headphone jack. There was no simple USB connection as with an iPhone or iPod. But that is about to change.

Harman to support Android USB connections to car radioHarman International said it will be the first major automotive tech company to support a new Android protocol that’s the equivalent of “Made for iPod” in the Android camp. It will let Android devices connect to car radios via USB.

You may also connect an Android phone to a rear seat video screen via USB and you can now playback video from an Android phone or tablet.

Harman said it will support Android devices in all its OEM platforms for use in entry-level cars as well as luxury vehicles to be available to consumers in 2013.

The company is adopting the “Android Open Accessory Protocol,” which was announced by Google in May to allow the USB connection. It will let drivers safely activate music apps through voice activation and steering wheel controls. And it will let content stream to devices in the rear seat.

The Android protocol may be used with later model Android devices—those running Honeycomb (Android 3.1). And there’s a software upgrade to support Gingerbread (Android 2.3.4) and later.

For more on Android Open Accessory Protocol, see Telematics News.

Source: Harman International Industries

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  1. you already can play your android phone via usb. i just installed a sony dsx s200x in my fusion. with the usb port i plug in my inspires cable and place my HTC inspire into disk drive mode and it read its and finds my music. works like a charm

  2. The days of aftermarket products pioneering technology were over once OEM’s realized that automotive entertainment was a viable market for luring and stepping up buyers. The reason? Mainly because there is no way all aftermarket sales combined can come close to comparing to the demand and sell through of OEM installed products. The shear cost of developing new technologies and the limited sales of aftermarket products defies the logic of the bean counters. Even when the aftermarket does get new tech, we rarely sell enough to warrant the manufacturer building it. Case in point: JBL (Harmon Group) markets an aftermarket processor called the MS-8 with remarkable capabilities. How many car audio dealers have seen one, much less sold and installed a volume of them? The tech being developed for car audio market is supported by the OEM sales. Once that tech is created, the next logical step is for the manufacturer, (Clarion, Alpine, Harmon etc.) to integrate that tech into aftermarket products. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were legal agreements between the OEM and the audio manufacturers as to how long a period would ned to elapse before that could happen!
    What we as the aftermarket CE dealers can and will always be able to do is fill in the demand for these new technologies to people owning step down and previous year models, and to those who cannot afford to replace defective OEM gear. Coming from a generation of installers that remembers the norm being brand new cars coming in to have “this OEM junk” removed to install high quality aftermarket gear, it is frustrating to what the changes evolve, but the “Bottom feeding” scenario is here like it or not. And, in life, bottom feeding is a viable way to survive. For every Marlin eating on the surface, there are thousands of crabs cleaning up the leftovers.

  3. With all due respect to Barry, this is not so great of news that the OEM companies have beaten the aftermarket to the punch. Ray has it right. Why hasn’t Kenwood, Pioneer, Sony or Alpine etc. have this technology way before Harman OEM? Why are we relinquishing innovation to the car manufacturers?

  4. Hey aftermarket manufacturers… Last time I looked many of you supply the OEMs too. Indeed some of you supply Harman. Seems like an opportunity. Or perhaps an opportunity missed…

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