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JVC Car Tightens Embrace Of Android Smartphones

LAS VEGAS — JVC is expanding the range of smartphone connectivity features in head units, in part with a tighter embrace of Android smartphones.

JVC is bringing the ability to browse songs stored on a USB-connected Android phone by title, artist and genre to all of its USB-equipped head units when the phone is switched to mass-storage mode and runs a free JVC app. Last year, the company offered the ability to browse Android- stored songs only by file name and folder.

The company is also:

• introducing its first navigation units that control the Pandora and iHeart apps on an Android phone connected via Bluetooth’s serial port profile (SPP), joining CD and DMR models that continue to offer that functionality;

• upgrading AppLink Mode for USB-connected iPhones to enable head-unit touchscreens to control more functions of compatible apps than before;

• expanding its selection of head units with MirrorLink MicroUSB ports; and

• adding its first heads with Mobile High-definition Link (MHL)-enabled MicroUSB ports.

Here’s what dealers will find in each of JVC’s head-unit segments:

Navigation: The 2013 line features two models with 6.1-inch touchscreen and one with 7-inch touchscreen. One 6.1-inch model and the 7-inch model feature HD Radio. All feature port for SiriusXM’s SXV200 2.0 tuner.

In all three new nav units, the company is extending its free Navi Bridge app for USB-connected iPhones to Bluetooth- connected Android phones. The Android phones will now be able to access points of interest (POI) from Google Maps and send the POI’s GPS coordinates to the navigation head unit to navigate to the POI. For both iPhones and Android phones, the app has also been upgraded to pull POIs from Yelp, Foursquare, Localscope, Around Me, and other social-network sites for navigation.

All three new models also add the ability to create custom iHeart radio stations on a USB-connected iPhone. The iHeart app will be upgraded in the spring to offer that capability.

The three models will also be the company’s first nav units to control the Pandora and iHeart apps on an Android phone via Bluetooth’s serial port profile (SPP.) Users will be able to view the apps’ metadata and album art on the head units’ large screens. Like last year’s models, the navigation heads also control the Pandora and iHeart apps on a USBconnected iPhone.

Two of the navigation systems are also JVC’s first head units with Clear Channel’s Active Radio feature, which delivers federal governments’ emergency alert service (EAS) warnings to head units in text form. The feature is part of Clear Channel’s expanded HD Radio Total Traffic Network service, which delivers text-based emergency and severeweather alerts, traffic, news and weather.

The three new navigation head units, shipping in January, are the $899-suggested KW-NT310 with 6.1-inch touchscreen; the 6.1-inch KW-NT510HDT, which adds HD Radio at $999; and the $1,199 7-inch KW-NT810HDT with HD Radio.

Multimedia head units: A total of six new big-screen multimedia head units will be displayed, four in the regular multimedia series and two in the NSX series. The latter two join an NSX-series model that was to be launched in December 2012.

In all six new heads, JVC is upgrading AppLink Mode for USB-connected iPhones to AppLink Mode with Extended Control, which expands touchscreen control to more functions of compatible apps than before.

With the two new NSX heads, the company is expanding MirrorLink connections to three NSX models from one. The two new NSX heads feature built-in MirrorLink-enabled MicroUSB port, whereas the previously announced NSX-1 requires an included black box with MirrorLink MicroUSB port.

MirrorLink is an industry-standardized technology that enables aftermarket and OEM touchscreen-equipped head units to stream content from MirrorLink-compatible smartphones and control smartphone functions via an on-screen interface. The UI for each MirrorLink smartphone brand will be the same from car to car. The interfaces of different brands of MirrorLink smartphones will be similar but not exactly the same, JVC said.

MirrorLink-compatible heads control a phones’ calling, music and location-based functions, including playback and control of stored music and music apps, voice-calling functions, display of phone contacts and album art, and control and display of location-based apps such as Google Maps for turn-byturn navigation.

For now, the Samsung Galaxy S III and select Nokia Symbian-based smartphones are MirrorLink-enabled, but MirrorLink-enabled phones require an app from their manufacturers to communicate with the head units. Samsung’s app was not yet available at press time.

The two new NSX heads also feature MicroUSB ports with MHL technology, enabling users to connect an MHL-enabled smartphone, charge it, and view smartphone video on the head unit, although video selection must be performed on the smartphone itself.

The two new NSX heads and the four regular-series multimedia heads also get AppLink Mode with Extended Control, which enables users to control almost all functions of compatible apps by touching a head unit’s touchscreen. The heads also add text-to-speech and other driver-safety features when used with compatible apps.

The new capabilities will appear on current AppModecompatible apps that get upgraded for use with AppLink Mode with Extended Control.

JVC’s current AppLink Mode enables head units to display content and data from 14 compatible apps on USBconnected iPhones, including the phones’ Internet-radio and navigation apps. AppLink Mode also enables head-unit control of four key app functions via on-screen keys, including Internet radio apps’ play/pause, fast-forward/rewind, and track-skip functions. Compatible cloud-based nav apps also provide turn-by-turn driving instructions through the head.

At International CES, the company also plans to announce new AppLink apps.

The six multimedia heads include the $349-suggested 6.1-inch KW-AV61, $399 6.1-inch KW-AV61BT, and Arsenal-series 6.1-inch KW-ADV65BT at $429. They ship in January. The 7-inch KW-AV71BT ships in February at $499.

Single-DIN CD: In launching eight single-DIN in-dash CD players, JVC is adding control of SiriusXM’s universal SXV200 tuner to four single-DIN models, having in 2012 offered SXV200 connectivity only in multimedia and navigation units.

The four CD players will be the only new heads compatible with the SXV200’s replay feature, which records up to 60 minutes of a currently playing station.

All new heads are the first single-DIN CDs with on-panel control of Pandora’s thumbs up/down feature on USB-connected iPhones.