Kenwood expands lineup of CarPlay head units

Kenwood has announced its 2016 car product lineup at CES 2016, including eight new head units with support for CarPlay. The new receivers are a part of both the standard Kenwood line, as well as the Kenwood eXcelon product group.

For 2016, the Kendwood head units received a processor upgrade, which allows the units to start up faster. Kenwood also focused on sound quality with this year's products, with select eXcelon units gaining support for 192KHz, 24-bit FLAC or WAV embedded files. All 2016 models also feature support for pairing two devices over Bluetooth simultaneously.

Press release:

KENWOOD Introduces 15 New Multimedia Receivers for 2016

Expanded smartphone support, higher-quality calls and faster processing deliver a premium user experience

LAS VEGAS – January 7, 2016 (MEDIAWIRE) – Kenwood USA, manufacturer of advanced-technology driver entertainment systems, will debut its 2016 product lineup at International CES. The collection includes 15 new double-DIN multimedia receivers—12 of which supplant the previous year's models—across the KENWOOD and KENWOOD eXcelon lines. Key improvements address consumers' desire to seamlessly and safely access smartphone-centric apps through an intuitive interface, as well as performance enhancements to support onboard navigation and source selection.

The 2016 multimedia platform received a processor upgrade resulting in improved stability and faster startup. The additional power also supports a completely new graphic user interface that delivers album art, navigation instructions and source selection in vibrant color and clarity. To personalize the interface, users can add shortcuts to their most-used sources on the home screen, select from a variety of backgrounds and switch between information sources by swiping across the display. For models with built-in Guidance by Garmin®, navigation maps and icons are more informative, and routing and recalculating are faster, thanks to new solid-state memory and a doubling of data transfer speeds.

The number of models embedded with Apple CarPlay™ has increased from four to eight, encompassing the four new topline models across KENWOOD and KENWOOD eXcelon. When a compatible iPhone® is connected to the receiver via USB, the Apple CarPlay interface lets the user access select entertainment and information smartphone apps on the receiver's display, as well as use Siri® to make selections, provide navigation directions and deliver search results by voice.

As well, the number of units equipped with Android Auto™ has doubled to four models in 2016. Created to extend the Android experience into the vehicle environment, Android Auto provides useful information at the right time, in addition to turn-by-turn navigation, music selection and more. A combination of voice and simplified touch menus lets the driver access Android Auto's features with minimal distraction. Phones connected through the USB port now benefit from new rapid-charging technology that delivers up to 1.5 amps.

Sound quality was enhanced in the 2016 line. Available on select KENWOOD eXcelon receivers, High-Resolution Audio Playback decodes up to 192KHz, 24-bit FLAC- or WAV-embedded files from media connected through the USB port, which now supports more types of storage media. For all 2016 receivers, a built-in 13-band equalizer enables precise audio adjustments. To further tailor audio to the vehicle environment, the user can access new features to adjust digital time alignment, sound stage height, ambiance and volume based on ambient road noise, powering the built-in amplifier or external amplifiers through three sets of RCA outputs.

Previously featured only on key models, all 2016 receivers now support the ability to have two phones actively connected via Bluetooth at the same time, letting the driver and passenger select which phone will be broadcast through the audio system. All models also receive the latest Hands-Free profile, supporting high-quality calls at twice the bandwidth of the previous profile.

In addition to audio and the user interface, all 2016 multimedia units can now better interface with the larger vehicle world. Each supports connection of two cameras (front and rear view) to help avoid obstacles while parking and maneuvering. Most new units also support connection with iDataLink® Maestro, an add-on vehicle gateway device that enables the receiver to read vehicle information, control specific factory features and connect to factory installed entertainment and safety peripherals.

The 2016 multimedia lineup will be on display during the upcoming International CES in Las Vegas, January 6-9 at Booth #1702 in the Las Vegas Convention Center. For more details, please visit the KENWOOD website at .

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.