Android’s greatest asset (besides a few billion dollars in Google development and promotion) is its flexibility. We’ve seen it power everything from video glasses to robots – and on that scale, a car stereo is relatively mundane. Even so, Clarion’s Mirage is an impressive piece of vehicular tech, and will certainly catch your eye if you happen to fall at the intersection of car stereo and Android enthusiast. In addition to basic music and sound management, the Mirage feature audio-in and Bluetooth connections for playing music on your phone or tablet.
The stereo runs Android 2.2 (I know, I know) on a 6.5-inch touchscreen of unknown resolution. It’s got all the features of a standard Android smartphone including telephony. For digital music you can load it up with an SD card or thumb drive, but the Mirage doesn’t have a CS drive – a bold move that will alienate some customers and won’t matter to others. Obvious apps like maps and GPS are included, as well as more mainstream fare like Facebook, Angry Birds and a photo slideshow. Hopefully there’s some kind of safety function that keeps stupid drivers from doing anything too distracting while actually moving.
The Clarion Mirage is being marketed towards car manufacturers for the time being. That means you won’t be seeing this head unit on display at Best Buy any time soon. But the company is talking with large-scale manufacturers in the South Pacific, so it could be headed to a more general production eventually. Prices weren’t mentioned (since they’re only looking for wholesale customers) but if this one ever makes it to retail, expect it to be expensive.