Well-established electronics manufacturer Pioneer Electronics has now debuted two new prototype aftermarket in-dash multimedia receivers at CES 2018. That's following earlier reports about at least one new receiver - namely the AVH-W4400NEX - being demonstrated by the company at the event. As it turns out, the company is actually showcasing a total of two such prototypes falling into its NEX-branded series and both of them have at least a couple of new features that would make them very popular among in-car audio enthusiasts. Aside from the above-listed NEX prototype, Pioneer is also showing off its new double-DIN, 7-inch LCD-touting AVIC-W8400NEX.
Unfortunately, the company's press release regarding either device was relatively slim on details, which makes some sense since these are prototype devices and there is no guarantee either will even eventually be brought to market. However, if they do, the prototypes show both devices are set to arrive bearing brand new Auto EQ and Time Alignment features aimed at helping users to customize their listening experience. Primarily, those are made possible by a newly created multi-band Graphic Equalizer, which utilizes the receiver's resistive touchscreen - allowing users to fine-tune sound across the board with swipes and taps on the enhanced interfaces crossover points and slopes. The new receivers' large screens should make that task much easier to accomplish, as well as making navigation of the Android Auto interface less tedious.
That display will also be able to house slightly larger on-screen icons, which is going to be extremely useful for another reason. Both prototype receives have been built around Google's Assistant. While Pioneer has included a microphone to allow interaction via the standard phrase, "Hey Google," that won't necessarily be useful for every driver - particularly if the music is cranked up. So, a dedicated microphone icon is included on the screen via Android Auto, offering one of three additional ways that Google's A.I. assistant can be accessed. A long-press of the unit's dedicated physical home key will also bring Google Assistant to life through the in-vehicle sound system. Beyond that, if the vehicle in question happens to feature steering wheel controls, the two prototypes also support access to Google Assistant that way.