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3 Pioneer Heads Combine Android Auto, CarPlay

Las Vegas –Pioneer is coming to International CES with its first three in-dash head units that incorporate both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay technology.

The three second-generation Networked Entertainment eXperience (NEX) head units will ship in March with the technologies, which enable head-unit touchscreens to display a driver-friendly UI that controls key apps on USB-connected Android and Apple smartphones. Apps include a phone’s music library, navigation apps, and select music-streaming apps.

The head units are the $1,400-suggested AVIC-8100NEX navigation unit, $1,200 AVIC-7100NEX navigation unit, and the $700 AVH-4100NEX multimedia receiver, which can be equipped with an optional add-on navigation module.

Here at CES, the three heads join a pair of Kenwood multimedia head units that also combine CarPlay and Android Auto. Kenwood’s two head units are targeted for May availability.

Pioneer launched its first CarPlay heads in 2014.

The three new Pioneer heads also feature the company’s AppRadio Mode technology, which enables the head units’ touchscreens to display the GUI and video of newer HDMI-connected iPhones and many HDMI/MHL-connected Android phones. Pioneer’s AppRadio Mode also enables the heads to control a greater selection of smartphone apps than can currently be controlled via CarPlay and Android Auto.

Pioneer’s NEX designation denotes models targeted to heavy smartphone users and featuring a new user interface that controls on-board features.

Also like the first-generation NEX heads launched in 2014, the three new models feature MirrorLink compatibility and iDataLink Maestro technology.

Maestro retains OEM infotainment system functions in select Ford, Chrysler and GM vehicles when the head unit is installed with a Maestro adapter.

MirrorLink enables a connection to a limited selection of MirrorLink-enabled Android phones to access the phone’s music, contacts and maps through the head units’ touchscreen.

All three also feature HD Radio, dual-zone audio/video playback, Bluetooth with stereo A2DP, stereo AAC streaming, and wideband hands-free speech.

Additional details were unavailable.