Sony has announced that its first MirrorLink-compatible in-car AV Centre head-unit will go on sale in the UK and Europe this month.
The XAV-601BT has a 6.1-inch WVGA touchscreen and graphical user interface to make it easier and safer to control and see what your phone is doing while driving.
Depending on the phone, it’s also possible to use it as a larger screen for maps and sat-nav apps.
It has two USB inputs so it can connect and charge a phone and play media from another device such as a flash memory thumb drive or a separate MP3 player.
Sony says that, “From launch, the XAV-601BT offers guaranteed MirrorLink compatibility with these Symbian smartphones: Nokia 701, 700, 603, N8, E7, C7, X7, C6-01. The head unit is future-proofed with simple firmware updates to add compatibility with more apps and a growing range of smartphones from other manufacturers.”
MirrorLink is a standard developed by the auto industry’s Car Connectivity Consortium. It’s meant to support Android devices too, so you can expect to see specific upgrades regarding that in the future. Inevitably, Apple’s iOS goes its own way, so iPhone and iPad users won’t get the same level of interaction with the head unit.
However, if you’re in the car but not doing the driving, you can use the Passenger App Control feature to view videos and display apps from a connected iPhone or iPod Touch on the head unit’s screen. Sony points out that iPod video playback requires an additional cable.
The unit also supports Bluetooth for hands-free calling or wireless audio streaming from compatible MP3 players.
There is a built-in FM radio with “Digital Clarity Tuner” that aims to improve sound quality in poor reception areas. The system’s media player also produces 4.1 surround for your car’s speakers and creates a virtual centre speaker through digital sound processing.
The XAV-601BT has a removable front panel to deter opportunist thieves, and with an RRP of £500, that’s obviously something you would worry about.
More info: Sony UK