Vizualogic shows off Android-powered headrest monitors

Vizualogic brings Android to the back seat with its upcoming rear-seat entertainment system.

Vizualogic Android headrest monitor
Vizualogic hopes to bring Android apps to the rear seat with its new headrest monitors. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

LAS VEGAS--Vizualogic's Android rear-seat entertainment (RSE) system is not the first of its kind that we've seen , but it may yet end up being the first to market.

The replacement car seat headrest features an integrated full-color, 7-inch capacitive touch screen that allows rear-seat passengers to interact with the Android 2.3 operating system. When asked why Gingerbread was used rather than the newer and tablet-optimized Honeycomb (or Ice Cream Sandwich) versions of the Android OS, Vizualogic stated that the the unit would be updated to version 3.1 or better by the time it reaches production. However, I'm guessing that the real reason Gingerbread 2.3 was chosen was because the hardware specs aren't very impressive.

Behind the touch screen hums a 1GHz single-core processor of unknown origin, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of internal storage. If 4 gigs seems low, users can augment it by popping a microSD card into the slot on the unit's face. There's also a USB connection for syncing data with a computer, an HDMI input for external video sources, and a headphone jack for private listening.

A bank of physical buttons for home, menu, back, and power functions can be found below the touch screen, and a Wi-Fi connection (either through your paired mobile phone or a wireless hot spot) brings the Internet into the backseat for streaming audio, YouTube videos, Netflix, Skype, or whatever other apps you'd like to install. The unit should also ship with a wireless remote controller and possibly a pair of IR headphones.

Vizualogic Android monitor
The unit features connections for wired headphones, USB, and IR wireless connections. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Vizualogic physical buttons
There are also physical buttons for home, menu, back, and power. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Performance was rather sluggish and even frozen at one point, but we were informed that the unit on display was a preproduction version, so I'm reserving judgment until the Vizualogic Android Headrest Monitors hit 12-volt retailers in the first quarter of 2012 for somewhere around $1,400 for a pair.

Check out our coverage from the floor of the 2011 SEMA Show here in Las Vegas.

 

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