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Clarion To Add Google Technologies To Smart Access Heads

Cypress, Calif. – Clarion plans to add Google Places and Google Voice Search capabilities to Smart Access head units for OEM and aftermarket sales.

 The company did not say when the new capabilities would be integrated into its products.

 Smart Access head units use touchscreens to display the content of, and control, 20 compatible third-party and Clarion-provided apps that run on connected Android and iPhone smartphones.  All apps are optimized for in-vehicle use, and most apps access cloud-based services. Those apps include navigation apps, Twitter, Facebook, weather, news, Pandora, iHeartRadio and others. The Smart Access heads also control and display a phone’s music library, contacts and calendar.

 With support for Cloud-based Google Places, drivers will get “access to the same type and level of location-based search services in their vehicles that they are already accustomed to on their mobile devices and at home,” the company said. Drivers will benefit from Google’s regularly updated database of more than 80 million restaurants, stores and other points of interest worldwide, it added. Google’s send-to-car feature will enable consumers to send a Google Maps destination such as a restaurant to their car’s Smart Access system.

With Google Voice Search, drivers will be able to discover destinations by speaking their queries in naturally spoken words instead of typing them, the company said. Voice Search will also enable users to control the apps and head-unit operations. The technology will be combined with Clarion’s noise-elimination technology to deliver improved reliability,

Clarion currently uses Vlingo voice-recognition technology, which also includes text-to-speech capabilities to read aloud text messages, emails and news feeds.

Smart Access technology currently appears in two double-DIN head units: the $999-suggested NX603 A/V-navigation head and the $599-suggested mech-less FX503 head unit. Both models feature 6.2-inch WVGA touchpanel that displays a GUI to control apps running on smartphones.