updated 03:28 pm EST, Wed January 9, 2013
We get to check out JVC's upcoming KW-NSX600 and NSX700 head units
Over at the JVC booth at the CES show in Las Vegas, the company had its latest head units on display that feature MirrorLink connections for Android and Symbian-powered phones. This allows users to control their smartphone and access content from them on the new KW-NSX600 and KW-NSX700 head units. The former sports a fixed 6.1-inch touchscreen, while the latter gets a motorized 7-inch touchscreen, both sporting WVGA resolutions.
All handsets with a Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) can connect and mirror their screens or playback video on the new head units, but the MirrorLink functionality requires the phonemaker to release a specific app.
Samsung, for example, has its Drive Link app for its Android-powered smartphones and lets users listen to music, access Google Maps for navigation, and make hands-free calls. Text messages can even be read out loud for added safety on the road. When in maps, scrolling across either the touchscreen of the head unit or smartphone moves the maps across.
An iPhone can also connect via an included wire and send videos and other content to the screen of the head unit. It benefits from the units' App Link Mode with Extended control that can mirror the functionality of 18 specially made apps from Apple's App Store, including video recorders, Text-to-Speech, and more. Users can then control their iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and 4th Generation iPod« Touch through the head unit thanks to an optional ($50) cable.
Other apps can also communicate and be mirrored or thrown up on the JVC screen, including a DashCommand app that includes some engine data, track maps that use the iOS devices' accelerometer for G forces and the like, though this can come across as slightly low-res on the JVC unit's larger screens.
We were told you can hook up both a Samsung Galaxy SIII and and iPhone at same time and swap between them, thought how simple this is in practice wasn't demonstrated.
The head units are priced at $650 for the KW-NSX600 and $700 for the KW-NSX700, with the former due out in March and the latter in January. The head units otherwise get 50Wx4 amps, Bluetooth, Pandora streaming, three sets of 4V pre-outs, line input terminals, and are steering wheel remote control-ready.
Overall, this is the best way yet to integrate a popular smartphone into a vehicle.