This was something bound to happen sooner than later. An Android Operating System based car infotainment device. Clarion has just launched the AX1 android-based touchscreen double-DIN infotainment system for the Indian aftermarket, while also providing it as OEM fitment for some global manufacturers. The system is priced at Rs. 55,000 in India.
The infotainment system runs on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and is customized to provide essential in-car information and entertainment. With an android operating system, it makes it easy for a user to customize the system with apps that he wants, although it only supports limited applications. Apps for the system can be downloaded from the Infogo app garage (like the Play Store but with only car-friendly compatible apps). It also has an Infogo music store with access to 25,000 songs.
The system comes with a 6.5-inch LCD display, three customizable home screens (those who use Android smartphones would be familiar with its functionality), Internet access through either a GSM card, USB or through Wi-fi hotspot with a compatible phone. It has an 800 Mhz processor and 1GB of RAM. It can also stream videos from a connected phone using DLNA wireless streaming and Bluetooth of course. It provides full phone connectivity and audio streaming. GPS navigation is by means of a compatible map-set that can be loaded with an SD card (either Tom-tom, Sygic or MapMyIndia). It also supports reverse camera functionality and it can be used as a car information device using a Bluetooth OBD-II connector. Other features include HDMI video output (for rear headrest monitors), full 1080 HD video playback, and the ability to play Internet radio or access social media sites (with voice functionality as well) on the go.
The total audio output is 25 watts per channel (4-channel), which is a bit low by aftermarket standards, but at par with most OEM systems. However, it is compatible with most amplifiers and can be mated to a host of speakers and subwoofers for decent audio performance. Although in terms of value for money, it is priced at a slight price premium, the fact that it’s built for a hostile car environment (extremes of temperature), makes it far more durable than any smartphone that can provide the same functions. This system is for those who want a single device to do everything. However, there are much cheaper workarounds as well.