We first laid eyes on Parrot's first Android-based Asteroid car infotainment system a couple years ago at CES. Then, at this past year's show, we got a sneak peek at a trio of successor Asteroid devices. Now, a mere 10 months later, the Asteroid Smart, Tablet and Mini have finally arrived in consumer-ready garb. First, there's a flagship in-dash system, the double-DIN Asteroid Smart. It features a 6.2-inch 800 x 480 capacitive display, a Texas Instruments 800MHz processor and runs a heavily skinned version of Android 2.3. The Smart also has four USB 2.0 ports (one which pushes 5V to charge an iPod) for connecting external devices like the included GPS antenna or a dongle for cellular data. Plus, there are 3.5mm line-in and microphone jacks to go with a host of RCA connections and a micro-USB port round the back. Bluetooth 3.0 is baked in, and an SD card slot sits behind the detachable security strip to the left of the screen.
Gallery: Hitachi Mobile Life Studio Plus | 9 Photos
Gallery: Hitachi Mobile Life Studio Plus | 9 Photos
The Smart's siblings, the Asteroid Mini and Asteroid Tablet are also coming to North America this month. The Tablet packs similar specs as the Smart, only it's got a 5-inch capacitive screen and is portable, as opposed to an in-dash solution. It runs the same skinned version of Gingerbread, has GPS and Bluetooth radios, and packs 512MB of RAM and 1GB of on-board storage, plus an SD slot. It also comes with a wireless touchpad remote so you can control the system straight from your steering wheel. Meanwhile, the Mini, with its 3.2-inch, non-touch screen has a similar form factor to the Tablet and comes with a wireless remote as well. However, its OS is built on Android 1.5 and it relies upon an external GPS antenna like its bigger, double-DIN cousin. The Asteroid Tablet will retail for $399, and the Mini will cost a hundred bucks less when they go on sale in a few weeks.
We got to swipe our way around the Parrot Smart, so join us after the break to see it in action.
The Asteroid Smart hasn't changed tremendously since the last time we saw it, but when we spent some time with the device, we did discover a few new details about it. First, navigation is no longer from Google. Instead, it comes with locally stored navigation provided by iGo, so American customers will have to pay that company for additional maps should they wish to venture beyond the US and Canada. Additionally, the Asteroid Smart lets you pair two phones (personal and business) to the system simultaneously, so you can make and receive calls from either. Dual mics are included to ensure good voice pickup through beamforming technology -- which keeps the voice recognition system powered by Nuance working well, too. Unfortunately, we could only test a the locally powered features during our time with the Smart due to data connectivity issues. However, the device can stream music from Spotify and Deezer, and you can shop for additional apps through Parrot's Asteroid Market. The Asteroid Smart goes on sale later this month for $599.
Gallery: Olympus E-PL1s | 7 Photos
Gallery: Olympus E-PL1s | 7 Photos
Parrot ASTEROID: A world of infotainment for vehicles
Parrot once again establishes its technological leadership and its unique vision of in-car infotainment with three new innovative and connected solutions for consumers:
Parrot ASTEROID Mini (Apps, Music and Hands-Free Telephony), Parrot ASTEROID Tablet (Apps, GPS, Music and Hands-Free Telephony) and Parrot ASTEROID Smart (Apps, Navigation, Video, Music and Hands-Free Telephony).
These three systems, forming part of the Parrot ASTEROID development platform of connected products running on Android TM, provide access to a world of services and content in car. With the ASTEROID range, Parrot revolutionizes in-car infotainment and establishes itself as a leading player on the market by offering a performing range of in-car communication systems that match and take advantage of Smartphone functionalities.
Parrot ASTEROID range: a wealth of functionalities
The results of more than four years of research and development, Parrot ASTEROID Mini, Parrot ASTEROID Tablet and Parrot ASTEROID Smart run on AndroidTM and benefit from Parrot technological excellence in terms of hands-free telephony and multimedia systems.
The functionalities included in the three solutions are:
• Infotainment - Access to numerous Apps and content via 3G, 4G key or via Bluetooth or USB tethering from a mobile phone or tablet. - Download new Apps from the ASTEROID Market online store.
• Music - Connection to various musical sources: iDevices, USB key, SD card, MP3 player... - Transfer music files from a mobile phone or tablet in Bluetooth® stereo A2DP. - Search for an artist or album by voice.
• Navigation - Navigation / GPS solutions adapted to each Parrot ASTEROID model.
• Hands-free telephony - Compatibility with all brands of Bluetooth mobile phones on the market; automatic phonebook synchronization; user-independent voice recognition; text-to-speech; simultaneous management of two mobile phones thanks to 'Parrot Dual Mode' technology; noise reduction and echo cancelling.
Parrot ASTEROID range: Tailored-made infotainment solutions
• Parrot ASTEROID Smart : Apps, Navigation, Video, Music and Hands-Free Telephony
With its wide 6.2" color multi-touch screen, the Parrot ASTEROID Smart is a very complete connected multimedia car head unit. Its 2DIN format fits perfectly into the central column of the dashboard in many vehicles.
The selection in the menu of the Parrot ASTEROID Smart is tactile. Equipped with a GPS antenna, the Parrot ASTEROID Smart includes a complete onboard navigation system.
Numerous applications adapted to the size of the screen of the Parrot ASTEROID Smart and to its specific functionalities are downloadable on the ASTEROID Market via 3G, 4G key, by tethering mobile phone or tablet connected by Bluetooth or USB or by connection to a proximity Wi-Fi network: radios and podcasts from all over the world; driving assistance solution; tourist information...
Equipped with various connectors (6 RCA, 1 video input & 1 video output), the Parrot ASTEROID Smart can be connected to a rear camera. Availability: November 2012 - MSRP: 599US$
• Parrot ASTEROID Tablet : Apps, GPS, Music and Hands-Free Telephony
The Parrot ASTEROID Tablet has a large 5" color capacitive multi-touch screen with an integrated GPS antenna. It installs easily to the vehicle's dashboard or windshield thanks to a repositionable foot.
In the manner of a multimedia tablet, the navigation in the menu is tactile, and a wireless remote control with a sensitive panel also enables to manage functionality like hands-free telephony, selection of music source, music search by the voice...
In addition to accessing Apps and services via 3G, 4G key or by tethering a mobile phone or tablet connected by Bluetooth or USB, the Parrot ASTEROID Tablet can connect to a proximity Wi-Fi network. It is then possible to download, from the ASTEROID Market, a GPS solution and a large selection of applications. Lastly, the Parrot ASTEROID Tablet offers many audio settings thanks to the Virtual SuperBass2 and Sound Spatializer systems. Availability: November 2012 - MSRP: 399 US$
• Parrot ASTEROID Mini : Apps, Music and Hands-Free Telephony
With a 3.2" color screen, the Parrot ASTEROID Mini installs on the vehicle's dashboard and comes with a GPS antenna and a wireless remote control to be attached to the steering wheel.
Connected to the Internet via 3G, 4G key or a tethering mobile phone connected by Bluetooth or USB, Parrot ASTEROID Mini accesses the ASTEROID Market in order to download Apps and other services like a simplified GPS system, a music library... Availability: November 2012 - MSRP: 299 US$
Parrot ASTEROID Market: a dedicated Apps store
To provide drivers and passengers with innovative applications and services adapted to in-car usage, Parrot opened an online store: ASTEROID Market. Directly available from a Parrot ASTEROID Mini, Parrot ASTEROID Tablet, Parrot ASTEROID Smart and the Parrot ASTEROID Classic (available since May 2011) connected to the Internet; the ASTEROID Market provides a large number of applications developed by renowned partners. Classified by categories* (Driving assistance, Music, Points of interest...), by price or by number of downloads, users can customize their Parrot ASTEROID solution by selecting the Apps and content that will meet their needs:
• Best parking • iCoyote • Jetfoo • Fuel for less • Parking • Parrot Maps • Wikango
• Deezer • Orange LiveRadio • Spotify • TuneIn
Navigation/Points of interest
• PagesJaunes • Roadtrip
• Roadhub Communication
• Meteo • iGO Primo • Waze • TextFriendly
*Non exhaustive list. Some apps mentioned above may not be available in some countries.
Parrot ASTEROID Market is also available from a computer connected to the Internet; applications can be downloaded on a SD card and installed on Parrot ASTEROID products within seconds.
Parrot FC6100: The ASTEROID solutions for car makers and equipment manufacturers
The Parrot FC6100 module enables auto manufacturers and equipment manufacturers to integrate all or part of Parrot ASTEROID functionalities to the new generation of vehicle as original equipment. The fully customizable Parrot FC6100 module meets the technological and economic constraints auto manufacturers and equipment manufacturers may face; and the Android environment for the car created by Parrot enables them to develop specific applications available via their own online apps store.