Phew – there is hope for car “infotainment” systems yet! Parrot (which is perhaps better known for its consumer drones) has just announced the RNB6 – an in-car system that will work with both iPhones and Android devices.
Check out the above video showing the new device – much like Pioneer’s recent devices, it appears to be an “aftermarket” device (ie: fit by you in your existing car, rather than manufacturers). It shows Parrot’s own GPS navigation, support for dashcam recording and streaming apps – but perhaps more importantly, it shows that you can plug in both an iPhone or an Android device.
The way CarPlay and Android Auto works is that when the car detects a phone has been plugged in, the on-screen display will be transformed – and you’ll have a similar look & feel to your phone, and crucially access to all of your phone apps, such as Google Maps or Spotify.
The Parrot is significant, not just because it appears to be a decent device in its own right, but because it shows the two technologies can be used in the same device – something (to my knowledge) we haven’t seen before. This means that if you upgrade from iPhone to an Android device next time, you won’t have to get a whole new car too. Similarly, if you and your partner have different phones, both will play nicely with the system. Apple and Google have wisely chosen to allow it, rather than ban competing devices in their terms and conditions.
Perhaps 2015 will finally be the year in-car systems get serious?