Earlier this year, at CES Kenwood announced two top-of-the-line infotainment units with the “future” sets of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The units are in stock and selling at a discount at Amazon. The Kenwood eXcelon DDX9902S is selling for $749.99 with free shipping while the Kenwood DDX9702Sis selling for $699.99 considerable discounts from the suggested MSRPs of $950.00 and $900.00, respectively.
If there are multiple drivers with different smartphones there are no hassles because Kenwood notes that the DDX9902S and DDX9702S allow users to switch between connecting an iPhone or Android smartphone without having to manually change settings or reset the unit.
CarPlay is the Apple user interface designed for cars, using Siri for voice commands. CarPlay for iPhones requires iOS 8.0 and a connection to a lightning cable that allows for streaming media, voice calls, texts and “Siri” requests through the microphone and audio system.
Android Auto hopefuls should note that you need the very latest version of Android for the system to work, Lollipop. There are compatibility issues with some popular Android models on different carriers. The Android Lollipop smartphone must be paired via Bluetooth and via a USB cable. Android Auto streamlines Android functions and adds voice commands for Google Maps, Google Now, messaging, phone calling and Google Play Music. Android Auto also will offer third-party audio apps that owners have on their phones, including iHeartRadio, Spotify, TuneIn, NPR, Stitcher, Skype, TextMe and many more.
The two double-DIN (fits double-DIN 4″ tall dash openings) DDX units have 6.95-inch resistive touch display with navigation, back-up camera view (camera required, sold separately), and a wealth of audio / video entertainment options. Each is equipped with Bluetooth for handsfree phone conversations as well as playback of streaming media from a Bluetooth-enabled phone or media device.
Both units also feature built-in HD Radio, an HDMI input with MHL support, and DVD playback. With HDMI/MHL the unit will mirror your Android’s display. They are also SiriusXM-Ready and Siri Eyes Free control for select iPhones.They feature native control of Pandora and iHeartRadio with connected smartphones.
If you are worried about automaker’s propriety features like Ford SYNC, GM OnStar, Chrysler Uconnect, or VW’s media interface if you connect it to iDatalink Maestro ADS-MRR Interface Module
- Ford SYNC systems -retain voice-controlled features, steering wheel audio controls, and factory audio functions.
- GM vehicles: keeps steering wheel audio controls, your factory amp, safety warning chimes, and OnStar.
- Chrysler – keep all your Uconnect functionality
- Volkswagen: you’ll retain the factory Bluetooth, the factory digital amplifier and fader, plus VW’s media device interface.
Depending upon your model you may need adapters or kits to fit the receivers in your dash.
IHS Automotive forecasts for the three primary systems for 2015 and will be MirrorLink, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. By 2020, there are expected to be 31 million cars with Android Auto and 37 million cars with CarPlay.