Pioneer Android Auto models revealed at CES 2015 – AVIC-8100NEX, AVIC-7100NEX and AVIC-4100NEX
Android Auto was definitely the most exciting new feature I saw at CES 2015. Pioneer was definitely pushing their Android compatibility at their booth and I had to wait in line to see the demo (they had one demo vehicle, Kenwood was the same way, Parrot had multiple demo models). With a quick glance at these new Pioneer Android Auto compatible radios at CES 2015 I could tell they’re pretty much the same thing as the previous NEX versions we saw last year, the AVIC-8000NEX, AVIX-7000NEX and AVIC-4000NEX. The only additional feature I could find is the ability to use Android Auto.
Like last year’s versions, they’re all 7″ touch screen and only the AVIC-8100NEX has the high gloss capacitive tough screen. The AVIC-8100NEX and AVIC-7100NEX both have built in navigation. I think this is a great option for the people who want to use Android Auto, but are concerned about getting lost in dead zones. For those who want to strictly use either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, consider the AVIC-4100NEX. By the way – these models will do either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto – not at the same time, but it’s easy enough to switch Smart Phone settings in the menu and you can have both phones connected at the same time. Android still connects to USB 2 and Apple connects to USB 1.
I do have concerns about charging. I found it *interesting* that both Kenwood and Pioneer were using Nexus phones rather than the largely popular Samsung variety. I can’t say the last time I had a customer come into my shop with a Nexus phone. My Android customers are S4, S5 and Galaxy Note users. The connection for Android Auto is USB to micro USB. I believe many Samsung users will still require the special tip adapter to make it work, but that’s not verified at the moment.
Below is a video demonstration in the Pioneer demo car at CES 2015 so you can see how Android Auto works in the new Pioneer models. The model shown in this car is the AVIC-8100NEX and it is connected to a Nexus phone operating Lollipop 5 (required for Android Auto).
Keep in mind while viewing the video this is a PROTOTYPE. Models shown at CES are no where close to being finalized products, their will be glitches that need to be worked out and I’m sure they will be addressed before the finalized products go into production and begin shipping. I mention this because I notice (and I’m sure you’ll notice) the volume gets tweaked every time he uses Google Voice. I’m sure this is something that will be worked out before the product goes into production and begins to start shipping.
Will there be an update to add Android Auto to existing models?
Unfortunately, no. There will be no software update available to add this new feature to existing NEX models or the App Radio 4. The hardware simply was not built into those models so it cannot be added. Existing Pioneer customers will have to upgrade to a new model to add the new feature. Pioneer says we can expect their new Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible radios to begin shipping in March 2015.