If you know car stereos, you’ve heard of Clarion. They’re known for all sorts of In-Car Entertainment devices. Now they are adding one called Mirage and it runs Android. The Mirage debuted in Malaysia yesterday and has the distinction of being the first Android-based, OEM grade car stereo.
Clarion Malaysia MD T.K. Tan calls the Mirage a “smart car stereo” and likens it to today’s smartphones.
“Anyone who uses an Android cell phone knows that it is much more than just a device to make and receive calls. It is a smart phone. Similarly, the Clarion Mirage is more than just your typical car stereo, it’s a smart car stereo that is upgradeable.”
The Mirage has a 6.5-inch LCD touch screen running at 800 x 400, and runs Android 2.2 Froyo, specially customized for a car platform by Wind River, a division of Intel. Though the UI is made to fit a car stereo, it is very familiar to us Android geeks. Connectivity is plentiful, with the following options:
- 1 USB port
- 1 SD Card slot
- 1 AUX IN
- 1 AUX OUT
- 1 AV IN
- 1 AV OUT
- RCA OUT x 4 channels
- Microphone for hands-free operation
The Mirage can download apps from the Play Store, and the screenshots show a demo unit running Facebook, Twitter, and even Angry Birds. (I already see some car accidents occurring due to trying to kill that last, stubborn green pig).
Interestingly, this device does not have a CD slot, Clarion stating that CD’s are yesterday’s media, and that the head unit becomes more reliable without a disc mechanism. It does support playing music from an SD card, USB devices, and Bluetooth, and is even compatible with iPhones and iPods.
The unit includes GPS software from Navigon AG, a Garmin company. The AM-FM radio supports RDS, and Clarion’s own digital sound processing system, VAPS 3D, is also on board.
The Mirage will be marketed to car manufacturers, such as Proton, Perodua, GM Thailand, and others. This is “in order to qualify the Mirage as a full automotive grade product…” The manufacturers have their choice of expansion options, such as a vehicle telematics display, reverse camera, steering wheel buttons, additional rear screens, and a DVD player or changer. No price indication was given.