updated 01:22 pm EDT, Wed October 3, 2012
Android-based car stereos add multitouch
Parrot has added three more Android-based car stereo systems to go alongside the Asteroid, including some with touch capabilities. The Asteroid Smart replaces an existing head unit, while the Tablet and the Mini are both designed to work in tandem with other car stereos, using the amplifier and speakers already installed in the vehicle.
The Asteroid Smart offers a 6.2-inch capacitive multitouch screen that can fit into a standard double-DIN bay. Powered by a customized install of Android 2.3, the system includes four USB ports, GPS, a dual microphone, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connectivity. A four-channel MOSFET amplifier powers the speakers, and also funnels the audio from music and video played over USB or SD card, or even a phone call. An Asteroid Market contains apps deemed safe for use in cars by Parrot, and the unit contains 20 apps preinstalled.
Lacking an internal amplifier and preamp connections, the Asteroid Tablet leverages an existing car stereo system. Containing many of the features found in the Smart, the Tablet also has a permanent mounting arm that holds the screen on the dashboard, and a separate controller that can be mounted onto the steering wheel. Although the 5-inch multitouch screen can be removed, components for its processing capabilities need to be professionally installed, and so are not as easily removed. The Asteroid Mini cannot be used after the 3.2-inch display is detached for the same reason. As the budget offering, it loses the touch options found in the Smart and the Tablet, as well as the Wi-Fi connectivity and the amplifier, instead relying on a remote control.
Set to launch later this month, the Asteroid Smart will cost $600, with the tablet at $400 and the Mini at $300. [via CNET]