We're going to be touring pre-CES and CES show floors looking for interesting things to make note of, and already found something that piqued our attention. While walking around CES Unveiled, one device which caught our eye was the Parrot Asteroid, a single DIN sized head unit for vehicles - that's nothing out of the ordinary, except the Asteroid runs Android.

The Asteroid includes a 3.2 inch screen on the front which unfortunately isn't touch sensitive, however the Parrot has written its own Android UI to mitigate the lack of touch input. Reps weren't sure what version of Android the Asteroid was running, but noted that development has been going on for a little over two years, which leads us to suspect the 1.6 sort.

The head unit has no fewer than three USB ports on the rear for connecting a 3G dongle, GPS dongle, and removable storage, and a fourth dedicated for iDevices. On the front underneath the removable faceplate is a slot for SD cards. 

The Parrot will have its own SDK and marketplace for applications - necessitated by that lack of traditional touch input. Parrot will provide first party maps support (and hopefully turn by turn navigation if you include 3G and GPS), as well as audio playback and library support for iDevices and external storage. There isn't any word on what codecs are supported, but it's reasonable to expect the same suite of codecs as you'd get in stock Android. The usual Bluetooth, AM/FM and RDS support (like you'd expect from a head unit) will also be present. Parrot is shooting for availability early 2011. 

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  • Jambe - Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - link

    Fingerprints. Ugh.

  • LoneWolf15 - Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - link

    What this unit appears to do right

    -Has lots of USB connectivity
    -Has the Android OS
    -Supports iDevices out-of-box (for those of us that have been using an iPod for car connectivity)
    -Has Bluetooth support integrated for cell phones
    -Has SDHC card slot

    What this unit appears to do wrong
    -No touchscreen (limiting Android's flexibility)
    -SDHC card slot requires faceplate removal
    -GPS should be integrated IMHO (Android Navigation app being as great as it is)

    -Voltage of preamp outs
    -RMS/peak wattage of onboard amp
    -Quality of construction of the unit itself (internally and external buttons)
    -Quality/usability of the customizations to the Android OS

    I'll be interested to see a full review.
  • defiler99 - Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - link

    If you want a CD player in your car, this unit isn't for you. Simple.
    Personally, I still use a pair of empeg (Rio Car) units, and I can't wait to try this thing out as a replacement.
  • synaesthetic - Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - link

    Until I can buy un-DRMed lossless tracks in a standard format online for a buck each, the CD is not dead for me.

    I will not pay money for lossy compressed tracks.
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, January 6, 2011 - link

    Who said I don't buy CDs? I still do (for pretty much the same reason), I just rip them to the computer as soon as I get home and then toss the CD in a box with the others and use the digital copies.
  • fluxtatic - Thursday, January 6, 2011 - link

    I bought a Pioneer deck, CD with a USB pigtail, I couldn't say for sure that the CD player even works, as CD has been dead to me since I finished ripping my collection. There is an 8GB flash drive in the glove box that I pull out and update once in a while or swap with a different drive. Not having to screw around with changing discs, getting them scratched or accidentally leaving the case visible and having it stolen are all very good reasons to leave CDs behind. I wouldn't mind an SDHC slot behind the face - I wouldn't want to try swapping a card that size when the car was in motion, so pulling the faceplate off to do it wouldn't make much difference to me.

    Double-DIN would be better for the sake of screen size, but do both. I couldn't use a double-DIN deck, and there are many cars on the road like that. I'm not going to have Car Toys idiots sawing apart my dash just fit a new deck in. Do the single-DIN first, bring the double-DIN later. Given the condition of the roads I drive on, I wouldn't care if it didn't have a touch screen, as I have problems navigating my folders using the multi-wheel or whatever Pioneer calls it as it is. But, sure, bring a touch screen and an optical drive to the party, too.

    Also, lossless formats are for idiots. Once you've hit 30, you're kidding yourself if you think your hearing is good enough to appreciate the difference between lossless and a decent lossy format at a high enough bitrate. Same goes for vinyl - it doesn't sound better, much like your tight pants, ironic facial hair, and John List glasses don't make you cooler.
  • Threeheadedtoad - Friday, January 21, 2011 - link

    The first thing I said when i saw this was "Where's the CD??". Then, my buddy said, and rightly so "CD's are over". I agree. Its so much easier to rip everything onto stick, and have your music in hand these days. I guess old habits die hard....

    However, if you REALLLLY want CD, you can add your own changer and plug it into one of the many many many ports on the back of the device. Even install it seperately as a seprate unit, this device is so small, you should have the room.

    What i want to see is more Zune integration. Im not anti-apple, or anti-idevice, but i like owning my music. My daughter uses her iPod, but the music isnt transferrable to other devices, etc....

    Zune - the music is mine, i can move it to another mp3 player, i can transfer it to another computer easily, i can even burn from or to my zune without having to verify my identity...

    So, in my opine - onion - this device looks cool, but i wont buy it first!

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