SONY’s new XAV-601BT In-Car Audio System ROCKS!

A little while back I got a visit from the cool folks of SONY. They have an all-new in-car infotainment unit that’s really great. Seriously. So, they drove this Mustang up to Malibu to show me how it works… so that I can show you.

Now, I’ve had an opportunity to see and use a lot of Automotive Aftermarket, so my expectations were high. And I also expected to sit for quite a while as they took me through everything since they drove about 2 hours from San Diego. What I didn’t expect was to be wowed… And here’s why…

There are hundreds of head units out there trying to impress you with their doodads. And they’re getting so complex that it seems that they want you to have so many buttons and features that the units basically can do everything including mute your mother-in-law. But in that process, they are losing the dynamics of simplicity. And that’s the key to a great in-car sound system.

Sony’s XAV-601BT is the anti head unit. Its touch screen and swipe sensitive face is super easy and really effective. These guys were done wowing me after just 5 minutes. I was like, what? It left me plenty of time play around with the simple tech and ample features that all I wanted to do was get that Mustang on the road. (Not to mention, it had a descent motor…) But for some reason, they wouldn’t let me have the car. Disappointing… YET, let’s move on.

Instead… I asked head SONY head tech dood Taka Noguchi about the unit for some detailed insight.

Fireball: (That’s me.) What is SONY’s goal in this new product?

Taka: Our goal is to provide a great driving life to consumers by easily connecting their smartphones with Sony’s infotainment head unit. It’s called MirrorLink technology. A seamless connectivity from your phone to the head unit provides a safe driving experience.

A Driving Life? I liked the sound of that… How about more?

Fireball: How far ahead is SONY from its competitors?

Taka: We don’t have our competitor’s future model information, but Sony is the only aftermarket 12V company who’s selling MirrorLink compatible head units today. It’s very cool.

Fireball: Is this a stepping stone to something greater? Voice activated? What’s the future look like at SONY? (Strategic Proprietary Question. Let’s see what he says…)

Taka: This is definitely a big first step to the next stage of in-car entertainment. There are a lot of technologies we have in our scope that could fit into car audio. We are carefully watching the future wave of consumer electronics and will come up with the best solution for the time phrase.

Dang! I was hoping to get an inside scoop on SONY Flying Cars! Or maybe SONY Ice Cream? Ok… let’s wrap this up like a gift from Amazon…

Fireball: How does this solve the problem of people using phones and texting and wrapping themselves around poles while driving?

Taka: The units allow you to make and receive phone calls directly from the head unit without touching a phone at all.
Also, this unit will read out the text message from speakers for Android users. This will definitely avoid people touching their phones to read the received message while driving. It’s definitely a step into the future of in-car infotainment.

Well, Taka’s right. No one is doing aftermarket entertainment for cars like SONY. Yet. But, by the time they catch up, SONY will be on to the next step as they usually are.

Some other cool features besides it Mirroring your phone include other USB compatibilities, the simple CALL/DRIVE/MUSIC display, keypad, DVD, SimpleNAV and the head easily ejects for safe keeping like a bad guy out of Bond’s Aston Martin.

This is awesome technology and fun. And a around a $550 price tag, it gives you so much that your Mother-In-Law will be speechless. Thank GOD for that…

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