JVC Mobile To Launch MirrorLink Head Unit - Twice

JVC Mobile To Launch MirrorLink Head Unit

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Long Beach, Calif. - JVC Mobile will ship its first MirrorLink-compatible in-dash head unit in late August and will work with Samsung to promote the product's compatibility with Samsung's flagship Galaxy S III smartphone.

JVC's double-DIN KS-NSX1 A/V receiver, which features 6.1-inch touchscreen, is priced at a tentative everyday $599, making it the company's top-end A/V receiver, said Chad Vogelsong, JVC Mobile's marketing GM. JVC will expand its selection of MirrorLink-enabled head units next year, he added.

 JVC's KS-NSX1 will join a pair of MirrorLink-enabled A/V receivers introduced by Sony at International CES.

In launching the 4G Galaxy S III, Samsung Telecommunications America is executing its largest promotion campaign ever for a phone. The S III, which is being marketed by six carriers, is seen by analysts as a strong rival to Apple's iPhone.

MirrorLink is the industry-standardized technology that enables aftermarket and OEM head units to control the functions and apps of MirrorLink-compatible smartphones, mirror the phones' user interface on an in-dash touchscreen, and stream content from the phone and from Internet-connected phone apps. With MirrorLink, consumers use the head unit's touchscreen to control smartphone apps and functions in the same way that they use the smartphone's touchscreen to control apps and functions.

MirrorLink was developed to enable interoperability between OEM and aftermarket car infotainment systems and smartphones made by different manufacturers and running different operating systems, according to the

Car Connectivity Consortium

. The group provides guidelines, certification and interoperability testing to suppliers to foster the development of MirrorLink products, the group said.

When JVC's MirrorLink-compatible head unit hits the market, it will connect to compatible phones based on Nokia's Symbian operating system as well as to Samsung's S III. In both cases, the phones must run a MirrorLink app available from their respective smartphone suppliers, said Vogelsong. Samsung's app for the S III, called Samsung Car Mode, is still under development. Vogelsong wasn't certain whether other Samsung smartphones could be upgraded to add MirrorLink. A Samsung spokesperson was unavailable.

Research In Motion (RIM) has also said it plans to offer MirrorLink.

JVC has teamed up with Samsung to promote S III connectivity with the JVC radio, Vogelsong said, but promotion specifics haven't been finalized. On its own, however, JVC will build a micro site to educate consumers about the new head unit and its MirrorLink capabilities, he said.

Those capabilities are enabled by Samsung and Nokia MirrorLink apps that control three sets of smartphone options, Vogelsong said. One set of music-related options enables head units to select smartphone-stored music, display album art, and in the case of the S III, possibly control music-streaming apps. The second set of location-based options includes control of Google Maps for turn-by-turn navigation, accessing Google Street View, and choosing other Google location options.

The third set controls phone use, including control of voice-calling functions and display of phone contacts. All of the app's features aren't known yet because Samsung is still developing the app, Vogelsong noted.

Because the KS-NSX1 is JVC's first-generation MirrorLink product, installers will have to install an outboard MirrorLink interface box that measures 6.5 by 1.3 by 4.3 inches. The box features MicroUSB connector to connect to the S III and Symbian smartphones and RGB video output so send the smartphone's GUI to the head unit. The box also features its own power and ground connections. The interface box is included in the head unit's price.

An optional dash-mount GPS antenna will also be available to improve GPS reception beyond the capabilities of the attached smartphone's GPS chip.

Besides offering MirrorLink, the new JVC head unit features DVD playback, detachable face, iPhone-compatible USB port, and App Link mode to control 12 compatible iPhone apps, including a navigation app, and display the apps' UI on the head unit's display.

The head unit joins a series of JVC A/V receivers that currently top out at $549 everyday for a model with 7-inch screen but no MirrorLink.

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