Android users can download Android Auto on Google Play starting today. To celebrate the occasion, Pioneer has introduced a long-awaited new line of receivers called Network Entertainment eXperience (NEX) that are compatible with Google’s new software.
Previewed last January at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the NEX receivers are designed to work with all smartphones that run Android’s 5.0 (Lollipop) operating system or one of the newer software released since. After downloading a handful of Android Auto-specific applications, the driver is able to control nearly every function of his or her smartphone without touching the screen by using a microphone built into the receiver.
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A 7.0-inch high-resolution touch screen displays relevant information on cards, a look inspired by the popular Google Now application. A purpose-designed version of Google Maps provides live traffic information, navigation and alternate route suggestions, while the driver can liven up his or her commute by switching to the AppRadio mode and launching a number of applications including Pandora and Google Play Music.
Overall, Pioneer believes that its NEX receivers can make driving a lot safer by greatly reducing distractions.
Want Google in your dashboard? The Pioneer NEX starts at $700 for a more basic AVH-4100NEX model and tops out at $1,400 for the range-topping AVH-8100NEX unit. All models regardless of price come standard with a long list of features including advanced Bluetooth connectivity, FLAC audio playback and SiriusXM-Ready.
Pioneer is not the only company interested in integrating Android Auto into its products. General Motors, Volvo, Honda, Hyundai and Audi are among the 28 automakers that have voiced an interest in incorporating the technology in future models, so we suspect you’ll be hearing a lot more about Android Auto in the coming months.