Clarion Adds Pandora Control, Voice Control

By Joseph Palenchar On Jan 10 2012 - 6:01am




LAS VEGAS — Clarion is adding control of Pandora’s Internet radio app on USB-connected iPhones to eight of nine new head units launching here at International CES, where the company is also unveiling its first heads that connect to the SiriusXM universal tuner.

One of three new A/V-navigation units, the NX702, will also be the company’s first product with voice control.

Clarion’s introductions also include:

• the company’s first A/V-navigation unit with embedded HD Radio;

• expansion of stereo Bluetooth streaming and Bluetooth AVRCP (audio video remote control profile) to more head units, all with Parrot Bluetooth technology; and

• the company’s first Class D amps.

The eight head units that control Pandora on a USBconnected iPhone include three CD receivers, one of which was originally slated to ship late last year but will now ship in February at a suggested $129. The others consist of three A/V-navigation units with built-in navigation, one “mech-less” digital media receiver, and one mech-less marine head unit, said marketing VP Adam Thomas.

All of the Pandora-controlling head units control a Pandora Internet radio app on a USB-connected iPhone. From all eight head units, consumers will be able to control basic Pandora functions as well as the app’s thumbs up feature. A/V navigation models starting at a suggested $999 will let users create a new Pandora station based on the current song or artist playing.

In adopting a dedicated connector to the SiriusXM SXV100 hideaway universal tuner, Clarion is adding the feature to seven of the nine new head units. They consist of two CD receivers starting with the $199 CZ302, all three A/V-navigation systems, and both mech-less receivers. One mech-less receiver, the M502, is Clarion’s first mechless marine unit.

The opening–price Pandora-controlling head is the single- DIN $129-suggested CZ202 CD receiver, shipping in the first quarter with detachable face, iPod/iPhone USB port with slide cover, and ability to capture iPod/iPhone audio in digital PCM form.

In products with HD Radio, the company will carry over its existing CZ401 single-DIN CD receiver with built-in HD Radio at a suggested $179. To that, the company will add the double-DIN NX 702 A/V-navigation unit at a suggested retail of around $1,200. It will be the company’s first A/V-navigation unit with built-in HD Radio, having previously offered HD Radio as an add-on option to nav units.

The NX 702 will feature 7-inch motorized display that slides down to reveal a CD/DVD slot. It also features real-time traffic via FM RDS from Clear Channel’s Total Traffic Network.

The NX 702 will be the company’s first nav system with voice control of calling and navigation functions.

The NX602 nav system features fixed 6.2-inch screen. The single-DIN NZ502 features motorized 7-inch QVGA.

Here are the details on other new products:

Digital media receivers: The two mech-less heads are the M502 marine unit and the car FZ502. The M502 features SiriusXM universal connector, Pandora control, Parrot Bluetooth, and compatibility with Clarion’s marine wired remote controls.

RF remote: The MF-1 one-way RF remote is designed for marine and in-car use. It communicates with an RF dongle that plugs into a head-unit interface designed to connect heads to OEM steering-wheel controls.

The $199-suggested remote controls on/ off, volume, track up/down and play/pause.

Amplifiers: The company’s first two Class D amps, designed for marine and car use, incorporate RCA audio-signal sensing technology to turn them on when they detect audio signal from a head unit. Both feature high- and low-pass filters and will retail from $300 to $400 on an everyday basis.

Speakers: The company is improving the sound quality of its speakers and adding two new sizes.

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