Auto Tech

Pioneer races to the road with Android Auto compatibility at CES 2015

Last year, Pioneer hit the road with Apple CarPlay first. This year, it aims to do the same with Android Auto.

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Pioneer Electronics

LAS VEGAS -- Last year, Pioneer's NEX receivers became the first to bring Apple's CarPlay to the road . Today, Pioneer aims to also be among the first to bring Google's Android Auto to the aftermarket, pulling the wraps off of the second generation its NEX series in-dash multimedia receivers at CES 2015 today.

The new AVIC-8100NEX, AVIC-7100NEX and AVH-4100NEX will all feature Android Auto integration. This will allow users of compatible Android 5.0 Lollipop smartphones to connect their devices and gain access to Google's purpose-built, simplified in-car interface. We've seen this system in action already in the 2015 Hyundai Sonata; Pioneer's system will allow drivers to add Android Auto to any car.

Drivers can interact with Android Auto apps on the 7-inch touchscreen or using Google's extensive voice command system with the receiver's external microphone. The three new NEX models also retain the Apple CarPlay compatibility that debuted in the previous generation, as well as AppRadio mode, Mirrorlink and Bluetooth connectivity, making them acceptable for cross-platform households. The two AVIC models in the series also feature Here Maps onboard, giving drivers the choice of navigation even without their smartphone.

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In addition to Android Auto, the second-generation NEX models will also feature CarPlay, Mirrorlink and Pioneer's own navigation and media software. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

"Integrating Android Auto into our second-generation NEX receivers provides compatible Android smartphone owners the ability to utilize the power and connectivity of their devices for navigation, communications, music and more," said Ted Cardenas, vice president of marketing for the Car Electronics Division of Pioneer Electronics USA.

The top of the line AVIC-8100NEX ($1,400) will feature a capacitive touchscreen, while the AVIC-7100NEX ($1,200) steps down to a resistive touch display. The least expensive AVH-4100NEX ($700) makes do without Pioneer's on-board navigation software, which shouldn't be an issue for drivers who plan on using their smartphone anyway.

These second-generation Pioneer NEX receivers hit the road with Android Auto compatibility in March 2015, racing in an attempt to beat the Parrot RNB 6 to the market.

Pioneer will also be offering Android Auto compatibility in the UK and Australia, but models and pricing haven't yet been announced. The US prices convert to roughly £920, £790 and £460, or AU$1,720, AU$1,475 and AU$860 respectively. Expect final prices to differ significantly, however.