January 9, 2011 | by Michael Heller
Over the last few days, we’ve been reporting about a ton of new phones and tablets joining the Android ecosystem in the coming year, but Android is finding its way into a bunch of other devices as well. Most notably, Android is going to be powering a bunch of in-car systems built by Parrot, Audiovox, Continental, and Fujistsu.
Parrot, a company most well-known for Bluetooth hands-free products, is bringing the Parrot Asteroid, which is a car audio receiver powered by Android. The Asteroid can playback music from USB drives, iPods, phones, SD card, or via Bluetooth. In addition, the Asteroid will include GPS and navigation with traffic and construction alerts, and access to Web radio stations. And, let’s not forget all of Android’s voice-powered options for truly hands-free calling.
The Audiovox system is looking to update back-seat entertainment by fusing a DVD player with what is essentially an Android tablet. The prototype features Android 2.1 complete with Market access, a 1GHz processor, a 7″ resistive touchscreen, Bluetooth, and WiFi, but no 3G or 4G connectivity built in.
Fujitsu Ten, a subsidiary of Fujitsu, is bringing real power to the table, putting a dual-core Tegra 2 into their car system, which also features Android 2.2. The Fujitsu system prototype showed navigation and multimedia features, but not much more at this stage.
Most impressive of all was the Continental AutoLinq system which was shown in a Volkswagen CC. The specs weren’t made available, but this was the only system to show off apps and what they could do. There was one app which monitored speed and speed limit data, and would send a text message to the car’s owner if certain thresholds are met, or if the car leaves a preset area, quite a good system for monitoring teen drivers. In addition, there was a navigation app, Pandora, and vehicle diagnostics app.
In all some impressive showings, and good to see Android making its way into a wider range of devices. It was always expected that Android, as a free system, would make the jump to a wider selection of electronics, and car systems make a lot of sense.