Next Gate will control connected iPhones during drives
Clarion has introduced a new device for iPhone owners, the Next Gate. It's a 7-inch, GPS unit-like device that will attach to a vehicle's windshield using a suction cup and provides a larger, more convenient control over a wired iPhone. Unlike the recently introduced Mirage head unit that's powered by Android, the Next Gate doesn't support handsets with the Google-made OS.
Clarion Mirage head unit is powered by Android
Clarion has taken the wraps of a new ‘smart’ car stereo head unit powered by Android 2.2. The Mirage is currently targeted at OEMs looking to integrate it into their vehicle ranges and is not available to the general public. In addition to including typical car-based apps including GPS and map functions, users will also be able to enjoy apps like Angry Birds and Facebook from their 6.5-inch capacitive touch center console.
Clarion joins Nokia's Terminal Mode efforts
Clarion is the latest car audio component maker to team up with Nokia on its Terminal Mode technology, which focuses on integration of smartphones with a car's infotainment system. Nokia has proposed Terminal Mode with Consumer Electronics for Automotive (CE4A), and is partnering with other car audio makers such as Alpine in its quest. Nokia will provide the software, including apps through its Ovi Store.
Clarion FZ409 head unit
Clarion has recently released its new FZ409 automotive head unit that sports an optical touch sensor instead of traditional buttons for control. It can play back MP3, WMA and AAC formats while displaying ID3 Tags. Users can also plug in their personal digital audio players thanks to a rear-mounted 3.5mm auxiliary input or a USB audio connection for connecting iPods.
Pioneer looks for partners
Japan's Pioneer is searching for a partner in the auto electronics business, according to Nikkei Business Daily. The company is currently said to be in negotiations with three main contenders -- Alpine, Clarion and Mitsubishi Electric -- in a bid to work on new auto electronics, such as car navigation systems. The company's reputation may also steer it further into the realm of audio, though no information to this effect has been revealed.
Better known for its audio gear, Clarion has announced the ClarionMiND, a forthcoming GPS unit. Unlike most such systems however the MiND is also designed to operate as a mobile Internet device (MID), a category currently dominated by Apple's iPhone; the MiND connects primarily through Wi-Fi, which enables web browsing as well as the use of special MySpace and YouTube apps. Unlike the iPhone, though, cellular access requires tethering through a Bluetooth 2.0 connection.
Clarion personal GPS units
On Tuesday, Clarion unveiled two new personal navigation units, the MAP680 and MAP780. The 4.3-inch touchscreen devices offer more than just 2D and 3D navigation, as a photo viewer, video and MP3 player and RDS-TMC traffic tuner are integrated. A 400MHz CPU is common to both units, as is Bluetooth capability that enables hands-free calling, sending SMS messages and A2DP audio streaming.
The MAP680 has less built-in memory than its bigger brother, at 1GB versus 2, and can only be had in one of four versions with pre-loaded regional maps of Europe. The MAP780 includes mapping software for 43 European countries.