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CES: More CarPlay, Android Auto, High-Res Audio, OEM Integration

Smartphone connectivity, high-resolution audio and OEM integration will play starring roles in the car electronics displays at CES.

Multiple suppliers will expand the selection of head units with Apple Car Play and Android Auto to control key smartphone functions from the dash. And multiple suppliers will expand their selection of in-dash heads with HDMI inputs to mirror the displays of connected smartphones and, in some cases, control the phones’ apps.

CarPlay and Android Auto enable head-unit touchscreens to display a driver-friendly UI that controls key apps on USB-connected Android and Apple smartphones, such as navigation, music, messaging and calling.

Head units with HDMI, at a minimum, will mirror the screens of connected Android and Apple smartphones, and more will come with Bluetooth’s HID (human interface device) profile to enable head-unit control of most apps on an Android smartphone. Some of the heads will deliver more limited control of Apple apps via Bluetooth SPP (serial port profile).

In high-res audio, at least three suppliers will launch their first in-dash head units with high-res decoding and DACs.

In OEM integration, more heads will integrate with a vehicle’s data bus via an iDatalink Maestro module to retain factory functions, such as OnStar, when the factory head is replaced. The aftermarket heads will also display OEM-vehicle information, such as tire pressure, depending on the vehicle and head unit.

Also at the show, dealers will find a greater section of heads with:

Android Open Accessory: When used with a manufacturer’s app, the heads select music stored on USB-connected Android 4.1+ phones by title, artist, and album. The heads also display song, artist and album metadata.

Bluetooth AVRCP 1.5: The Bluetooth profile lets heads select iPhone-stored music by song, artist, genre, composer and podcast. Android-stored music can also be selected by folder and artist.

Android Media Transfer Protocol (MTP): With this, heads browse the music library of a USB-connected Android phone by folder type, and the heads control play/pause and skip functions

Siri Eyes Free: When connected to an iPhone, the heads let drivers access Siri so drivers can use their voice to make requests, such as selecting and playing music, getting directions through Apple Maps, calling people in their phone’s contact list, looking up phone numbers for points of interest, setting a reminder or alarm, asking for the weather forecast, and the like.