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Clarion Celebrates 75th With HDMI, Marine Units

LAS VEGAS — Clarion is sailing into Las Vegas for its 75th anniversary with an expanded assortment of marine-audio products, new smartphone apps for its Cloud-connected Smart Access head units, and its first two multimedia head units with HDMI to mirror the displays of smartphones and game players.

The company is also adding Siri Eyes Free to its line for the first time in two models, maintaining its selection of MirrorLink-equipped heads at two, and expanding its assortment of heads that stream the aptX codec over Bluetooth.

In expanding its marine lineup, the company is adding two new DMRs and three more amps. All are additions to the line.

Clarion plans celebrations and special events throughout the year to celebrate its 1940 founding as a manufacturer of battery-powered household radios in Tokyo.

Here’s what’s on the way 75 years later:

Smart Access: One new Smart Access head unit, the $1,099-suggested NX605, ships at the end of the quarter to join the carryover $599-suggested FX503 multimedia head unit. Two heads were also in the 2014 lineup.

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

The company will talk up plans to add about five more apps to the selection.

Touchscreen control of the apps on Android phones is accomplished through Bluetooth HID. For Apple phones, control comes via Apple’s IAP protocol over USB.

The NX605 is the company’s new flagship double- DIN navigation/multimedia receiver with built-in HD Radio, live traffic information, and Clarion’s Intelligent Voice powered by Google. Via HDMI-connected Android phone, Intelligent Voice delivers voice control of Gmail and Google Calendar, information search, and entering a navigation destination. Email is read aloud.

To search, users can say “I’m hungry” or “Are there any good sushi bars in town?” The answers will be spoken.

HDMI mirroring: Two other new double-DIN head units are the $899 double-DIN NX405 navigation/multimedia head and the $499 multimedia VX405, both with HDMI input to mirror the displays of HDMI-connected Android and Apple phones. They’re the company’s first heads with Siri Eyes Free. They ship, respectively, in the first and second quarters.

They also feature MirrorLink, an industry-standard technology that enables touchscreen-equipped OEM and aftermarket heads to control functions and stream content from MirrorLink-compatible smartphones that run a MirrorLink app. Samsung and Sony offer MirrorLink-compatible phones.

Both head units feature built-in stereo Bluetooth, dual-zone entertainment, control of an outboard SiriusXM tuner, and control of Pandora on a USBconnected iPhone and Bluetooth-connected Android phone. Both heads also add new SiriusXM features, including replay, smart favorite, Tune- Start, TuneScan and TuneMix.

In-dash CD: Five new models include three single-DIN models and two double-DIN models.

Hello sailor: For the marine market, the company is adding three new marine-grade XC amps, also suitable for vehicles, and two DMRs.

The $349-suggested M505 and $179 M205 DMRs feature global tuners, weather band, iPod/ iPhone USB, and Pandora control. They ship in January. The step-up M505 adds Bluetooth with aptX, two-zone audio output, 6-channel 4-volt RCA outputs, optional wired remote, and SiriusXM tuner control.

In marine amps, the XC series of class D marine amps adds the two-channel $249-suggested XC2110, four-channel $149 XC2410, and five-channel $349 XC2510.All are compact models with such features as adjustable crossovers, conformal coated components, and bridgeable output. They ship in the first quarter.

All of the company’s new car and marine head units feature Pandora control via iPod/iPhone USB, and the Bluetooth models feature Bluetooth AVRCP to deliver basic control over a phone’s music library and display the library’s metadata.