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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Parrot Asteroid is Android-based car receiver with all the extras

11

January

Continuing with the endless barrage of cool products I saw last week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, one of the most impressive was the Asteroid car stereo from Parrot.

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This Android-based car receiver opens up a ton of possibilities through installable apps. Internet connectivity and geolocation are made available through built-in GPS and an attachable 3G and 4G connectivity dongles of your choice through USB. Use voice commands to find a coffee shop or parking space, monitor traffic, select music or make a call using voice commands and via built-in Bluetooth.

All main functions are controlled using a clever jog dial. A high-definition 3.2-inch color LCD screen displays everything from playlists to maps to Internet applications. Android apps can be loaded using a built-in installation interface through your Internet connection.

The Asteroid is iPhone/iPod-ready with a wired dock connector standard as part of the package. This is sort of ironic since the receiver is Android-based. Equipped with a 4x55W built-in MOSFET amplifier and a subwoofer output and 6xRCA preamp-output , it also includes an equalizer with various sound effects for different genres. Additional connections include four USB ports (one dedicated for the iPhone/iPod), an auxiliary line-in and an SD card slot.

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Because the unit doesn't have a CD player the depth is greatly reduced making it very small and easy to install. Parrot says it's compatible with all cars equipped with a 1 DIN module.

The unit can be paired to up to ten different phones and will synchronize the phonebook of each phone, directly associating user-independent voice recognition tags.

The faceplate is detachable, and when removed it reveals a small microwave oven for cooking tiny entrées that will be made available by Parrot.

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OK, I made that part up, but do you see my point? This thing is incredibly full-featured. With the ability to expand functionality through Android apps there are many cool things that can be done with a system like this. I asked if it was compatible with my MINI and they said yes, so this may be something to consider as long as I can make it look "stock" when installed.

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 2:59pm]

    

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