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Clarion Android IVI head unit includes WiFi hotspot

Sep 13, 2013  |  Eric Brown
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Clarion Malaysia opened pre-orders on an Android-based in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) head unit. The AX1, which appears to be Clarion’s first Android-based IVI system, features a 6.5-inch capacitive touchscreen, Bluetooth, navigation, voice control, 1080P full HD playback, and a built-in WiFi hotspot.

Based in Japan, Clarion has a long history of developing automotive AV, navigation systems, and more recently, IVI systems. The AX1 appears to be the first Android-based IVI system from Clarion Malaysia and Clarion in general. This “AVN head unit with OEM specifications” appears to be the long delayed final incarnation of the Clarion Mirage, which was unveiled in March 2012 with plans to ship by the end of last year. The 6.5-inch Clarion Mirage was said to have been developed using Wind River’s Platform for Android.



Clarion AX1 infotainment head unit
(click image to enlarge)

 

The AX1 appears to be available as both an OEM and aftermarket product. It runs an “automotive optimized” version of Android 2.3.7 on an 800MHz automotive processor with 1GB of RAM, says Clarion. The system is said to be capable of 1080P full HD playback and output via its HDMI port at 720p.

The AX1 features a 6.5-inch, WVGA resolution capacitive multitouch TFT display. Several screenshots showing the device’s Android user interface in operation appear below.




Clarion AX1 user interface screenshots
(click image to enlarge; source: Clarion)

 

Other major features include a microSD slot, dual USB ports, Bluetooth 3.0, and a WIFi radio that can be set up as an access point and hotspot. The AX1 also provides navigation with voice guidance.

Additional features of the AX1 include:

  • AM-FM Radio with RDS
  • iPod and iPhone audio/video playback and charging
  • UPnP and DLNA streaming to iOS and Android devices
  • Audio streaming (A2DP & AVRCP)
  • Virtual Acoustic Positioning System (VAPS) for sound staging and music enhancement (OEM only)
  • 25W x 4ch digital amplifier
  • Internal and external microphone support
  • 6-channel RCA output
  • 2-zone/multizone playback
  • Automatic illumination
  • Image viewer (JPEG, PNG, TIFF, BMP)
  • Rear camera input
  • Smart power management, fast boot option
  • Resistance to high/low temperatures, vibrations, humidity
  • 3x home pages and 6x large application icons
  • Infogo Internet radio and App Garage

The AX1 integrates Infogo’s Android-ready Internet radio service and App Garage. The partnership is close enough that Infogo has posted a pre-order page selling the AX1 for a discounted rate of 1,599 Malaysian Ringgits $486), with a regular recommended price said to be $725. Shipments are expected in November. Clarion Malaysia is selling the AX1 for a promotional price of $510.
 

Not the first Malaysian Android-based IVI head unit


Proton Suprima S
Android IVI

(click to enlarge)

Malayasian car company Proton has launched a Suprima S hatchback with an Android-based IVI system. The Proton Infotainment System runs on a “pre-ICS” version of Android, and has a 7-inch touchscreen, WiFi, Bluetooth, microSD, and a GPS with Malaysia’s Lokatoo navigation software.

The Proton Suprima S is a hatchback version of Proton’s Preve sedan, running on a CamPro 1.6 turbo engine. It’s touted for being only the second Proton car with a 5-star safety rating from ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program).
 

Further information

Clarion USA does not list the AX1 for sale, and does not yet appear to offer an Android-based system. Its latest 6.2-inch, navigation-ready NX603 and 7-inch, 2-DIN, FX503 IVI units, of uncertain OS heritage, were announced by Clarion USA back in January, with shipments expected in 2Q 2013. The NX603 is billed as “Clarion’s most advanced in-dash navigation source unit model for 2013.” Clarion’s previous touchscreen-based IVI systems include the 6.2-inch, 2-DIN VX401, and the 7-inch VZ401. These are offered as similar VX402A and VZ402A systems by Clarion Malaysia.
 

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