CES took place last week in Las Vegas, and we’re still digesting all of the goodness that was announced at the show. Auto was a pretty big topic in Vegas, a bit surprising considering the NAIAS took place this week in Detroit. CES seemed a bit more of an Auto Tech show, morphing the two shows together. For Android Auto, we saw quite a few announcements. HARMAN, Kenwood and Pioneer all announced new head units for Android Auto. While Ford and Chrysler both announced their plans for implementing Android Auto into their future models. Let’s break them all down and see what happened in Vegas.
HARMAN announced their first Android Auto head unit, although it’s under their JBL subsidiary. The JBL Legend CP100 is currently the cheapest head unit – although not quite available yet – coming in at just $399. It is essentially a bare bones head unit, offering just Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and FM Radio features. It’s almost half the cost of the next cheapest head unit. A fantastic choice for those looking to pick up a head unit specifically for Android Auto.
At CES 2016, Kenwood also announced a ton of new head units. They actually announced about 15 in total. While only four of them feature Android Auto capability. Unlike the JBL Legend CP100, the Kenwood head units also feature HD Radio, navigation and much more, in addition to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. No word on pricing for Kenwood’s models yet, but they will likely start at around $700 and go up from there.
Pioneer also announced three new head units in Vegas. Including the AVH-4200NEX, AVIC-7200NEX and the AVIC-8200NEX. All of which are replacing the models announced at CES 2015. We spent the better part of 2015 with the AVH-4100NEX and have loved the experience with it so far. These newer models aren’t that different from last years, so if you have last years model you don’t need to upgrade. The AVIC-7200NEX and the 8200NEX both feature Nokia’s HERE Maps, with the main difference between the two being internal storage for offline maps. No release date yet, but the prices will be $700 for the AVH-4200NEX, $1200 for the AVIC-7200NEX and $1400 for the AVIC-8200NEX.
Ford actually kicked off the show this year with an Android Auto announcement. They announced that Android Auto – as well as Apple CarPlay – will be standard in all 2017 models that they produce. It’ll be part of their SYNC3 platform. So it won’t be just Android Auto taking over the infotainment system, you’ll still have Ford’s software there for those times you don’t want to use Android Auto. Ford is also allowing owners of 2016 models to upgrade to Android Auto later this year. Currently, there’s no word on exactly when the first Android Auto-enabled Ford vehicle will be available however.
The announcement from Chrysler and their parent company, FCA, was a bit surprising. We knew Chrysler was part of the Open Automotive Alliance with Google, but hadn’t heard much about Android Auto support. FCA announced that Android Auto is going to be available for all of their models, but likely won’t start rolling out onto dealer lot until the second half of this year. Chrysler, like Ford and others, are not allowing Android Auto to take over the entire interface either. In fact, when you are in Android Auto, you still have the controls to adjust the temperature in the car, media, radio and much more. Which is all part of their UConnect software for their infotainment system.