Parrot has announced a new car receiver with hands-free telephony and access to web services â€“ all based on the Android platform.
Launched today in London, Parrot claims it's Asteroid receiver will be "connecting the car to the internet." The Asteroid will offer connection to thousands of internet radio stations and podcasts via an Orange Liveradio app. There will be three other apps bundled with the Asteroid. Maps will offer GPS localisation but no turn-by-turn navigation. Based on Google Maps, the app will give you details of local points of interest, text-based directions to those places as well as phone numbers and other details.
The final two apps which will come with the device will be subscription-based. The first of which will be Fuel for Less, which will let you know where service stations near your location are and where the cheapest fuel is to be had. iCoyote on the other hand will give drivers live updates of traffic jams and accidents as well as alerts on up-coming speed cameras. Parrot believe the this is "going to be a very open platform with new apps coming in the next couple of months." They confirmed to us they were working with other developers at the moment.
The Asteroid will connect via Bluetooth to practically any phone and has six different phonebook sync protocols loaded up to allow for most phone OSes to sync with it. Hands-free calling is facilitated via the voice recognition button on the left of the receiver. The voice recognition software does not have to be trained and automatically recognises accents as well as seven languages including English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
The 1 DIN standard-format receiver is split into two parts. On the right is a 3.2in TFT screen while the left is taken up with a detachable faceplate on which are back-lit buttons including some familiar Android buttons and the dedicated voice recognition button. This will also allow you to search your music by artist, album or track name. Music can be stored on an SD card, with the slot located under the faceplate or via USB on a PMP. The receiver has four USB ports at the rear - one for the included GPS antenna, one for a 3G dongle and two free for your PMP or other USB device.
Included in the pack are USB cables to allow you bring the USB connection from the rear of the receiver to your glovebox or central console. 3G tethering via Bluetooth is currently possible and a software update will bring USB tethering in the near future, Parrot said at the launch today.
The Parrot Asteroid will be available this month for £299 which includes the GPS antenna and all cables. While the receiver is certainly an impressive piece of technology, the lack of a proper built-in navigation service or failure to future-proof with DAB compatibility could prove off-putting for some considering the considerable outlay needed.