After several months of delay that cut into the spring car stereo selling season, Kenwood is now shipping its 2016 radio line, which offers some of the most advanced Apple CarPlay and Android radios on the market.
Sister brand JVC is also now shipping its first CarPlay head unit, the KW-V820BT, which was also delayed since March.
Some of the Kenwood radios are the first with Garmin built-in navigation to also offer CarPlay and Android Auto.
And some are also the first to work with a radar detector (initially from K40) to display radar signal information.
The delay in shipping was due to a hold up in working through Apple’s certification process for CarPlay, say industry members.
JVC Mobile Entertainment GM of National Sales, Ron Trout officially blamed a delay due to a “third party.” He said, “But we’re excited. The product is awesome.”
Kenwood is introducing 8 new radios with CarPlay, including models with navigation. Four of the radios will also work with Android Auto.
Additionally, Kenwood is supporting Hi-Res Audio for the first time and adding near field communications (NFC) for easy Bluetooth pairing by simply tapping the phone to the radio. And it is also now supporting Spotify directly on its receivers.
CarPlay starts at $800 and Android Auto at $900, the same entry prices as last year, but with more features.
Four of Kenwood’s eXcelon receivers now support FLAC files at up to 192kHz /24 bit audio. (Last year, Kenwood supported FLAC but at a lower resolution).
Kenwood is also pushing sound quality with the addition of 13-band graphic equalizers with digital time alignment on all navigation and AV receivers.
CarPlay models include the eXcelon DNX893S, eXcelon DNX693S, eXcelon DDX9903S and the eXcelon DDX6903S as well as the Kenwood DNX773S, DNX573S, DDX9703S and DDX6703S.
Models that also get Android Auto are the eXcelon DNX893S, eXcelon DDX9903S as well as the Kenwood DNX773S and DDX9703S.
JVC is now shipping a more affordable CarPlay model at $599. The KW-V820BT also plays back Hi-Res Audio FLAC recorded at up to 24 bit/96kHz. And its one of JVC’s first decks to work with an iDatalink module to retain factory features when you replace the factory radio, including Ford SYNC and GM Onstar.