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Kenwood ships Android Auto and Apple CarPlay Head Units
Whether you’re batting for Team Android or Team iPhone, you’ve probably heard of Android Auto if you’re an Android Addict or Apple CarPlay if you have an Apple Addiction. Maybe you’ve heard of both of them, but you have to admit that the whole concept of a proprietary car operating system meant to talk to its respective devices is a bit flawed. I’m not here to judge Google or Apple, but Android Auto and CarPlay do raise a few questions, and a pretty fundamental question: What happens when my device can’t talk to my car? What if you got an Android when you got a car with CarPlay or vice versa? Since neither Google nor Apple has opened cross-compatibility, this becomes an unnecessary inconvenience for the average car consumer.
Enter Kenwood. Kenwood has approach this inconvenience with a relatively simple solution: Just have both. They currently offer two solutions: The Kenwood Excelon DDX9902S and Kenwood DDX9702S. At the moment, these two head units are the only aftermarket head units with both Android Auto and Apple Carplay. I know it’s absolutely cliché, but this is exactly how Google and Apple should have approached this: Just include both in the same head unit. Sure, there are going to be licencing issues and all, but for the love of God, this is a car we’re talking about. You’re going to have this for at least five years, so you might as well make the software in the car compatible with your phone.
Both the DDX9902S and DDX9702S have pretty identical functions. With an iPhone, you can expect voice recognition via Siri, which allows you to reply to texts, play media, voice-controlled navigation, and more. With an Android, you can expect pretty much the same functionality with Google Now.
As far as hardware, the DDX9902S and DDX9702S have almost indistinguishable hardware. Both feature 6.95 inch resistive displays, back-up camera compatibility, video, and of course, audio I/O. As Bluetooth is more commonplace now in 2015, Bluetooth connectivity is a must and that’s exactly what you’ll find in both units. Both will also have HD Radio, an HDMI input, and DVD playback capabilities.
However, head units aren’t usually cheap and these are no exception. The price of phone compatibility flexibility is $900 for the DDX9702S and $950 for the DDX9902S. Although that isn’t cheap, you must consider that this is a car that’s meant to last for years. The lifetime of your phone is a small fraction of the lifetime of your vehicle. Sure, not everyone wants a smartphone-enabled car. For many, a simple Bluetooth connection or an AUX cable will do the trick, but for those early adopters or for those who like to look towards the future, this is definitely a viable option. For more information, check out their website.