CES is about cars this year. Kenwood announced a new in-car multimedia receiver today that is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, so consumer can choose their favorite platform and use their phone in their car easily. "We understand that consumers are loyal to the brand or platform of smartphone they use," said Tony Mercado, marketing manager for Kenwood. "To that end, we wanted to create a multimedia receiver that doesn't force the customer to choose based on his or her preferred smartphone. The DDX9902S allows customers to enjoy a safe, integrated experience with the phone they love."
The new receiver has a touch screen that makes it easy to interact with content. With Apple CarPlay, you can also use Siri. With Android Auto, the DDX9902S offers "deep integration with Google Now shows informative cards to provide users with location- and preference-aware information at the right time, and robust voice recognition and playback deliver information safely to the driver." The menu bar makes it easy to select navigation, phone, and music so you can get to what you need safely and quickly when you're behind the wheel. Basically you plug in your phone, select Android Auto, and you're off to the races.
The DDX9902S is a high-end Kenwood multimedia center, on top of the smartphone integration stuff. It offers Bluetooth for phone calls and wireless music, an HDMI input that can charge your device and let you control apps from your phone on the receiver's screen, and Pandora and iHeartRadio built right in. It comes SiriusXM-Ready and so you can get SiriusXM if you want it, and you can add on a rear-view camera if you would like to add that security feature. The DDX9902S will even work with factory steering wheel audio controls. No word on pricing or availability for this receiver, but Kenwood says both of those will be "announced soon." Whether or not this is the receiver you choose, we're stoked on Android Auto making a real appearance in 2015.