Parrot, the French technology company with its North American automotive headquarters in Southfield, has launched the Parrot Asteroid, a new generation of car receiver combining advanced hands-free telephony with, for the first time, access to Web services.

The Asteroid is the first car receiver built on Google’s Android operating system. Once connected to a GPS dongle (provided with the product) and a 3G key (not provided), it enables access to innovative web services.

In the United States six applications will be available in October 2011:

* Maps is a cartography service which identifies and locates points of interest close to the vehicle. Using the zoom function enables the user to dial, hands free, the indicated phone numbers of selected business, access their information or plan routes.
* Roadtrip is an itinerary service to touristic points of interest which vocally provides historical and meteorological information linked to the selected venue. Pictures are also displayed on the screen of the Asteroid.

Driving assistance
* Wikango is a connected speed camera warning app system especially adapted to the Asteroid screen that provides information about speed controls in real time. The spots are declared and shared between Wikango users.
* Weather is offering weather forecast information during the entire road trip.

Contact management
* TextFriendly provides drivers the possibility to read and compose emails or text messages by the voice, without any manipulation of the mobile phone.

* TuneIn provides access to music, sports, news or current events from anywhere in the world with more than 50,000 stations to choose from.

Parrot said the Asteroid is an open platform, so more applications will be added in the future.

The Asteroid also allows the user to listen to music from various sources, including USB keys, the iPhone or iPod, MP3 players, SD cards and online radio stations through the 3G card. Music files can also be sent to the car receiver from a mobile phone and via Bluetooth.

Asteroid also offers the functionality of a traditional car receiver, with an FM-AM tuner and RDS text plus service.

Also, a dedicated button on the Parrot Asteroid activates voice recognition to search for the name of an artist or an album without using the wheel button of the car receiver. The Asteroid will automatically search for your request in the connected peripherals.

Compatible with all brands of Bluetooth mobile phones, the Parrot Asteroid offers advanced functionality of hands-free telephony. Paired with a mobile phone, it synchronizes and automatically updates its phonebook. Access to the phonebook can be achieved hands-free thanks to training-free voice recognition. The driver only has to say the name of a contact from their phonebook, and dialing will start automatically with the conversation conducted on the audio system of the car.

Deep black with backlight buttons, the Parrot ASTEROID integrates itself perfectly in all car interiors. A standard 1DIN size format also makes it easy to install. the unit is part button faceplate, and part 3.2-inch color screen for display of maps, Web applications, phone book contacts, album covers and more.

The Parrot Asteroid will be available in October at the recommended retail price of $349.

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