Sony’s New CarPlay and Android Auto Receiver Has a Giant 9-inch Screen


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Most new vehicles come with Android Auto or CarPlay included, or at least as an option on more expensive trims. However, older vehicles can get a more modern multimedia experience with the help of an aftermarket head unit. Most of these devices have stuck to a tried and true 7-inch form factor, but Sony’s new unit has a larger 9-inch screen. Plus, it’ll be compatible with more cards (and wallets). 

CarPlay and Android Auto have gained popularity because most people are using one of those two operating systems, and everyone carries around their personal data on smartphones. These in-car systems pull data directly from the phone, so all your music, podcasts, and contacts are automatically available. The interfaces, while intentionally simplified for cars, are dramatically better than what carmakers offer. If you don’t even have a touchscreen in your car, Sony’s new XAV-AX8000 receiver could give you some bragging rights over friends with newer rides. 

The XAV-AX8000 has a sizeable 8.95-inch touchscreen, which is larger than many new vehicles that ship with 7-inch displays. However, that display is only WVGA resolution (480 x 800). That’s probably much lower than your phone, but you won’t have your nose right up against the dashboard. 

To ensure it’s compatible with as many vehicles as possible, Sony designed the XAV-AX8000 to use a single DIN slot — it’s on an adjustable arm that holds it away from the slot. So, even vehicles that have narrower entertainment decks (think: a compact CD player) can cram this gigantic screen into the dash. 

The single DIN frame should fit in most vehicles that don’t already have a large embedded touchscreen.

Sony was able to make this head unit so compact be removing unnecessary components like the CD player and front-facing inputs. The hardware includes a 4-channel amplifier at 55 watts per channel and vehicle reverse cameras. If you don’t want to plug in your phone for media, the system also has Bluetooth streaming with SBC and AAC codecs. 

Sony plans to launch the XAV-AX8000 in December for $600, which sounds like a lot. However, that’s comparatively cheap in the world of high-end automotive head units. Many of the latest receivers from Alpine, Pioneer, and others are well over $1,000. Keep in mind, professional installation of these systems will add at least a few hundred extra to the price.

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Google’s new version of Android Auto focuses on Assistant – gpgmail


Google is starting to roll out an updated version of its in-car platform Android Auto that aims to make it easier and safer for drivers to use.

The version, which was first revealed during Google I/O 2019, has a dark theme, new fonts and color accents, more opportunities to communicate with Google’s virtual assistant and the ability to fit wider display screens that are becoming more common in vehicles.

Android Auto, which launched in 2015, is not an operating system. It’s a secondary interface — or HMI layer — that sits on top of an operating system and brings the look and feel of a smartphone to the vehicle’s central screen. Rival Apple introduced its own in-car platform, Apple CarPlay, that same year.

Automakers, once hesitant to integrate Android Auto or Apple CarPlay into vehicles have come around. Today, Android Auto is available in more than 500 car models from 50 different brands, according to Android Auto product manager Rod Lopez.

Car owners with Android Auto support will start to see the new design over the next few weeks. However, updates will not be made to the standalone version of Android Auto, a smartphone app that gave users access to the platform even if their car wasn’t compatible to Android Auto. Google says it plans to “evolve” the standalone phone app from Android Auto to the Assistant’s new driving mode in the future.

Meanwhile, the in-car version features some important changes, notably more opportunities for drivers to use their voice — and not their hands — to interact with Android Auto. Users will notice the Google Assistant badge on Android Auto, that when tapped will provide information about their calendar, read the weather report or news.

3Android Auto Google Assistant Badge

Other new features include a new app launcher designed to let users access their favorite apps with fewer taps. A button on the bottom left of the screen launches this feature. Once deployed, users will see app icons with the most commonly used ones featured in the top row.

Android Auto has also improved its navigation, which is perhaps the most commonly used feature within the platform. Now, the navigation bar sits at the bottom of the display and allows users to manage multiple apps. This improvement means users won’t miss an exit or street while they’re listening to Spotify .

4Android Auto Media

The navigation feature also pops up as soon as the driver connects with Android Auto. If a route is already queued up on a phone, Android Auto will automatically populate the directions.

This latest version also has a new notification button — located on the bottom right corner — houses recent calls, messages and alerts. Drivers can tap the mic button or say ” “Hey Google” to have the Google Assistant help make calls, send messages and read notifications.

Google has also developed an operating system called Android Automotive OS that’s modeled after its open-source mobile operating system that runs on Linux. Instead of running smartphones and tablets, Google modified it so it could be used in cars. Polestar, Volvo’s standalone performance electric car brand, is going to produce a new vehicle, the Polestar  2, that has an infotainment system powered by Android Automotive OS.


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