The Good Being powered by the Android OS means that the Parrot Asteroid can download and run apps. Parrot's hands-free calling system is one of the best in the business. Digital media on USB-connected mass storage devices, iPods, and SD cards can be voice-controlled. A ton of functionality is crammed into a single-DIN form factor.
The Bad Getting the Asteroid connected to the Internet requires a USB wireless 3G dongle, not provided. Only Parrot-approved apps are supported and many of the launch apps, particularly Maps, are not very compelling or useful.
The Bottom Line The Parrot Asteroid falls a bit short on delivering the Internet and a rich app experience in the car, but it's still a solid receiver for users looking to add great digital audio connectivity and a top-tier hands-free calling experience to any vehicle.
From the front, the Parrot Asteroid doesn't look much different from any other single-DIN CD receiver. It's got a bank of buttons surrounding a physical control knob on the left half of its faceplate. There's a largish 3.2-inch color display on the right half. You'd be forgiven for mistaking the Asteroid for one of our other favorite single-slot receivers: the.
However, pop the Asteroid out of its home in your dashboard and take a look at its chassis and you'll find that this is not your average receiver. For starters, it's only about half as deep as the average CD receiver, because it's not actually a CD receiver at all. This "mechless" receiver lacks an optical media drive. In fact, unless you count the control knob and the buttons on the detachable faceplate, the Asteroid is completely lacking in moving parts.
And that's not even the oddest of the Asteroid's attributes! Peel back the surface (or take a look at our) and you'll find that the Asteroid is also the first car stereo to be powered by the Android mobile operating system (albeit a highly customized version). Of course, my first reaction was, "Awesome!" but in the weeks between its announcement and its ultimate release, I began to wonder, "What's the point?"