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Kenwood Debut Features Both Apple CarPlay, Android Auto

Multimedia DDX9902S accommodates new smartphone-centric integrations for safer operation

Here at the2015 International CES in Las Vegas, Kenwood is displaying and demonstrating the DDX9902S, the first receiver in its lineup that includes Apple CarPlay, what the manufacturer characterizes as the smarter, safer way to use iPhone in the vehicle.

The multimedia receiver will also include Android Auto, which utilizes features of an Android phone through a driver-friendly interface, the company added.

“We understand that consumers are loyal to the brand or platform of smartphone they use,” said Kenwood spokesman Tony Mercado. “To that end, we wanted to create a multimedia receiver that doesn’t force the customer to choose based on his or her preferred smartphone.”

With CarPlay, apps are within easy reach and display just the right amount of information, according to the receiver maker. The unit’s interface encourages the driver to use Siri to control, read and reply to messages and more by speaking. Siri also provides access to music, podcasts and other third-party apps, and augments Apple Maps for voice-controlled navigation.

With Android Auto, the menu bar allows drivers to select sources, including navigation, phone and music. The company says that integration with Google Now shows informative cards to provide users with location- and preference-aware information at the right time, and voice recognition and playback deliver information safely to the driver.

Aside from the smartphone interfaces, the DDX9902S is a Kenwood multimedia center. Bluetooth integration enables phone calls and wireless music from a paired smartphone. An MHL- supported HDMI input connects to iPhone 5 and 6 models, as well as select Android-based smartphones, to charge the device, control compatible on-device apps and play its audio and video content on the receiver.

The unit also includes AM/FM and HD Radio capability. Built-in control of Pandora and iHeartRadio expand music choices when using a smartphone’s broadband connection.

The DDX-9902S is also SiriusXM-ready and connects to the latest SiriusXMSXV300 Connect Vehicle Tuner which is sold separately.

Kenwood anticipates late-May availability for the DDX9902S. The Kenwood-branded unit will list for $700 and the premium Exelon version will list for $750, Kenwood staff said.