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Pioneer’s NEX Multimedia Receivers Hits Shelves

Long Beach, Calif. — Pioneer’s second-generation Networked Entertainment eXperience (NEX) in-dash multimedia receivers became available at retail and include the aftermarket’s first three head unit with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay technology.

Those three head units are the $1,400-suggested AVIC-8100NEX, $1,200 AVIC-7100NEX and $700 AVH-4100NEX. They are also the first aftermarket head units with Android Auto. The other two new NEX head units are the $900 AVIC-6100NEX and $750 AVIC-5100NEX. Both feature Apple CarPlay, which was previously available from Pioneer and is also available from Alpine.

Aftermarket head units with both Android and CarPlay have also been announced by Kenwood, which has said it plans May shipments.

Pioneer’s NEX designation denotes models targeted to heavy smartphone users.

All NEX models feature built-in navigation except for the AVH-4100NEX, which accepts an add-on navigation module. All five also feature Pioneer’s AppRadio Mode, MirrorLink compatibility, iDatalink Maestro OEM-integration support, SiriusXM-tuner control and FLAC file playback.

Android Auto and CarPlay enable head-unit touchscreens to display a driver-friendly UI that controls key apps on USB-connected Android and Apple smartphones. The technologies also deliver voice control. Apps include a phone’s music library, navigation apps, select music-streaming apps, voice calling and messaging.

Android Auto is compatible with USB-connected phones running Android 5.0 Lollipop, and CarPlay is compatible with the latest version of iOS running on the iPhone 5 and later iPhones.

Automakers have also promised to offer CarPlay and Android Auto.

All of Pioneer’s five new 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.

Also like the first-generation NEX heads launched in 2014, the 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 except the AVIX-5100NEX feature HD Radio. All also feature Bluetooth AVRCP 1.4 to browse a smartphone’s media library, and all feature 192kHz/24-bit FLAC playback, though the DACs are CD-quality.

The three Android Auto/CarPlay units feature 7-inch touchscreens, while the two CarPlay models feature 6.2-inch touchscreens.