Sony is including–for the first time by a car radio maker– Near Field Communications (NFC) in much of its head unit line.
NFC is a short, 3-inch range wireless system, which when used with a technology like Bluetooth, enables simple pairing. So with NFC you just tap the phone to the radio for one-button pairing of Android phones.
Sony is also using a new simplified iPhone auto-pairing system. If you connect the iPhone via USB to the radio it prompts you to confirm pairing.
The company also joins other leading radio makers at CES, announcing its first in-dash device with an HDMI port and Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) output so it can mirror the display of the iPhone 5, 5s and 5c and Android smartphones. (The radio mirrors the phone but doesn’t control it in Sony’s implementation).
NFC one-button pairing is offered on three CD receivers: MEX-N4000BT, MEX-N5000BT and MEX-N6000BH CD as well two GS-series CD receivers: MEX-GS610BT and MEX-GS810BH.
The MEX-N5000BT CD/radio includes a mic while the MEX-N6000BH adds HD radio. The MEX-GS610BT comes with dual USB and 5V pre-out, and the MEX-GS810BH has HD radio.
HDMI and MHL are offered in a new Sony AV/radio, the XAV-712HD with MirrorLink, Bluetooth and App Remote version 2 compatibility. The deck also comes with a Micro USB-to-MHL cable for Android phones.
The AV deck is joined by a second, basic version without HDMI/MHL or Bluetooth, model XAV-65.
Sony will ship the MEX-N4000BT in May at $119, the MEX-N5000BT in March at $129. The MEX-N6000BH will be available this summer. For 12 volt specialists, the MEX-GS610BT and MEX-GS810BH will ship this summer at $179 and $239, respectively.
Sony is also expanding its GS speaker line in 2014 with many news models. The line includes a 3-year warranty.
Sony also announced a unique smartphone cradle/radio for 2014. See story here.