Parrot’s Unusual Car Radio

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Parrot Simple Box

Parrot showed at CES the “Simple Box,” which won a 2016 CES Innovation Award.

The box is part a budding trend of separating the radio from its screen. We’ve seen it in powersports radios with Bluetooth streaming players that work with a smartphone. And we’ve seen it in Alpine’s truck-specific radio.

But Parrot is taking the concept a step further.  It showed at CES an OEM radio without a traditional screen that can connect to the driver’s tablet or smartphone. And while it is intended for OEM use, the Simple Box is also under consideration for the aftermarket, said Parrot’s Aurelien Chabot at CES.

Parrot Simple Box
Parrot Simple Box

We believe other suppliers in addition to Alpine are examining the concept of separating the car radio from the screen.  One leading supplier told us “everyone is investigating that type of form.”

The Simple Box includes an audio amplifier, an interface, USB ports, radio, CAN bus interface, Bluetooth, microphone and line in.   But to ensure that the radio keeps up with the times, it can work with the user’s tablet or smartphone instead of a screen.

The user interface shows up on the separate tablet, just as it would on the radio screen. You can switch modes, play music, control volume up/down, navigation, and Internet radio. You can take a call, and control the cars’ temperature as you would on an advanced radio.

“The Simple Box provides a means to further enhance the in-vehicle mounted CE device. Using Bluetooth, the device can quickly connect, access and control the infotainment features of the vehicle,” it said.

By relying on the user’s own tablet/phone, development time for car makers is reduced.   The radio “can be built in six months instead of two years,” said Chabot.

A Parrot press statement said, “Year to year, the vehicle is now equipped with the latest consumer device.   With the automotive middleware already equipped in the vehicle through the Simple Box, this provides for an economical way of rethinking how to equip and sustain an evolving IVI user experience.”

The Simple Box may include a 3G or 4G modem or CarPlay or Android. It runs on Linux and can also support WiFi, Bluetooth and voice control by Nuance.




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1 Comment

  1. It needs Android: I’m sure google would like to get in on this.
    however, I think auto makers could just add a spot for a user to replace his add on device and just put in the touch screen on the dash, this has all the controls for the car like heat, windows door locks trunk release Its led display and can be activated by walking up to the car with your key, you can get on board data about your motor, tires and service history, or any Check motor lights and airbag condition it also alerts you if you have any bulbs out on the car you can even look at your fuel eco. and it tells you when you need a tuneup. what you can add to it is anything now currently on the market with an upgrade kit you either buy from your dealer or at an aftermarket shop, this is installed in the trunk and Blue rays or what ever can also be added, as well as back seat screens for the kids and separate sound systems. The car/truck would also have a back up camera and side view’s.
    Systems you can add would be Navigation, internet, Amps subs more speakers and or better speakers DVD’s and blue rays and anything not mentioned Its all plug and play including a computer in the trunk mac or PC based. any OS can run on the system. You can also add remote start and alarm to it. This keep the aftermarket from messing with wires inside the car’s and can not void a factory warranty.
    We would need to set up a standard communication system and connections for every brand of car as well as necessary pre. wiring systems. 18 ga speaker wires isn’t going to cut it. and a Mim of 4 ga power wire or trunk placed battery or connection’s. Places in the passenger part of the car for disk’s or media. and a USB port for in car connections.

    The dealer can sell a pre installed system or a blank system or upgrade. Or you have the option to go buy aftermarket gear. (lol made by the same company that made the factory stuff)

    With autonomous cars we might not be able to install anything for fear of messing up the factory system’s and causing unsuitability. The aftermarket is going to have to adapt and get automakers on board with it.
    The days of add 2 speakers and a head-unit are coming to an end.
    Now to keep this from being a buy online and DIY add on.

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