By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Southfield, Mich. — Parrot has expanded the selection of apps for its Asteroid series of Android-based in-car entertainment systems.
The seven new apps include Facebook for Asteroid, a media-player application and an email application, bringing the app selection to 17. Other apps previously available include GPS navigation, traffic data, TuneIn online radio and Spotify.
The apps can be downloaded to the entertainment systems from the Internet via a Bluetooth- or USB-tethered smartphone or via a 3G- or 4G-equipped USB cellular stick. The apps, however, run independently of the smartphones, though they might require the use of a smartphone to access the Internet. The apps can also be downloaded onto a PC and transferred to a USB stick for loading onto the systems.
One of the models also features built-in Wi-Fi to download apps via a Wi-Fi-connected smartphone or mobile Wi-Fi hot spot.
The Asteroid series features three new models that shipped in March to join a current model, the single-DIN $349-suggested in-dash Asteroid Classic. The new models include the $599-suggested Asteroid Smart, a double-DIN in-dash car stereo with 6.2-inch multi-touch touchscreen, Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad USB port, stereo Bluetooth, SDHC card slot and GPS. The two other products are installed dash-top products that can be connected to existing car stereo systems to add many of the same capabilities.
The dash-top systems are the $399 Asteroid Tablet with 5-inch capacitive touchscreen and the $299 Asteroid Mini with 3.2-inch non-touch display. Both come with installed black box that incorporates 4x40-watt amp, connections for power, Made for iPod/iPhone USB input, hands-free and stereo Bluetooth, and SD slot.
All models feature voice control of song selection and hands-free calling.
Of the new apps, Facebook for Asteroid is available for the tablet or smartphone to share updates, photos and videos; receive notifications; and text, chat and have group conversations. Some functions are not available when the vehicle is in motion.
The Asteroid Mail app announces user email out loud. Preconfigured let users respond with brief messages.
VLC media player for Asteroid provides a media library for audio and video files, letting users browse folders directly, play most local video and audio files, and play network streams.
Recargo is an electric-vehicle community app that helps users electric-vehicle charging stations, plan trips, share photos, and stay connected with news from PluginCars.com and people in the Recargo community.
Glympse lets users share location information with others in real time. Recipients receive a link allowing them to view the user’s ETA and location in real-time for the user’s chosen length of time.
Roadhub is a business app that connects to users’ sales force CRM / business tools. It helps users plan callbacks, log calls and receive messages from clients and colleagues. It also offers text-to-speech conversion.
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