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Clarion Upgrades Smart Access, Adds MirrorLink

LAS VEGAS — Clarion is introducing two new Smart Access head units with HDMI inputs to control and display apps running on MHL-equipped Android phones and Lightning-equipped iPhones.

The company is also launching its first two heads with MirrorLink and launching its first head with Google Voice.

The two MirrorLink-equipped models are the $399-everyday VX404 multimedia DVD-receiver and $699-everyday NX404 navigation/multimedia receiver.

The two new Smart Access heads are the $499-everyday FX-504 double-DIN multimedia receiver and the $999-everyday NX 604 navigation/multimedia receiver. The latter is equipped with Google Voice. Both are the company’s first heads offering Smart Access compatibility with the all-digital Lightning connector on the iPhone5, 5s, and 5c smartphones.

The 2013 line’s two SmartAccess heads, which are not being carried over, offered iPhone 4 and 4s compatibility via USB and composite-video connection.

Like their 2013 predecessors, the two new Smart- Access heads offer SmartAccess compatibility with Android 4.0 and higher phones through the heads’ back-panel HDMI port equipped with MHL (Mobile High-definition Link).

In other advances, the company is expanding its selection of head units that control Pandora on USBconnected iPhones to seven, up from four, and revamping its speaker line, which adds the company’s first speaker with five-way driver design.

Smart Access heads use touchscreens to control, and display the content and GUI of, select compatible third-party and Clarion-provided apps that run on iPhones and Android phones connected via adapter cables to the heads’ HDMI ports. All apps are optimized for in-vehicle use, and most apps access cloudbased services. Those apps include navigation apps, Twitter, FaceBook, weather, news, Pandora, iHeart Radio, and others. The Smart Access heads also control and display a phone’s music library, contacts and calendar.

Mirrorlink is an industry-standard technology that enables touchscreen-equipped OEM and aftermarket heads to control and stream content from MirrorLinkcompatible smartphones that run the handset suppliers’ MirrorLink app. Samsung and Nokia offer Mirror- Link-compatible smartphones.

MirrorLink-compatible heads control a compatible phone’s calling, music, and location-based functions, including playback and control of stored music and music apps, voice-calling functions, display of phone contacts, album art display, and control and display of location-based features such as Google Maps. The interfaces were designed to be driver-friendly.

Google Voice Search enables drivers to discover destinations by speaking commands using naturally spoken phrases. Voice Search also enables users to control apps and the operations of the NX 604 Smart Access head.

Here are the details on the two new Smart Access head units, the two MirrorLink heads, and the two carryover Smart Access heads:

The new $499 FX 504 Smart Access multimedia receiver features 6.2-inch display. The $999 NX604 Smart Access multimedia/navigation receiver adds navigation, HD Radio, and Google Voice. It also features 24-bit/192kHz FLAC playback via USB, Bluetooth, new highly animated GUI, playback of 1080p video via USB, and MPEG-4 and H.264 video playback via USB.

The Smart Access heads use Bluetooth’s HID (human interface device) profile to wirelessly control the functions of the smartphone apps in the same way that Bluetooth keyboards control PC functions.

The MirrorLink heads are the $399 VX404 multimedia head and the $699 NX404 navigation/multimedia. Details were unavailable.

Separately, the company is launching three new marine units — the M704, CMS5 and CMS2 — and carrying over four models. The M704 and CMS5 feature SiriusXM tuner control with the new ability to display SiriusXM album art from the new SiriusXM SVX300 outboard tuner. Both heads also display SiriusXM channel logos and offer SXM Go Live, a replay feature that lets users listen to a song, pause it and restart. With the feature, users can also rewind a song and fast forward it within a buffered period. The latter feature was available on the SXV200 tuner, but the SXV300 tuner allows more storage, Clarion said.