12 Volt: Keeping up with the Car-Dashians

Using Smartphones as the Display

There are just some iPhone lovers who can’t be separated from their device. There are heavy iPhone users, and there are addicted iPhone worshippers who believe any other mobile device isn’t even worth glancing at, lest Steve Jobs posthumously accuse them of brand cheating.

However, there are some head units out there that can please the Apple minions to no end. They may not provide the most aesthetically elegant solution when being judged for a seamless install, but they do satisfy the cravings of the iPhone lover that not even the Pioneer
AppRadio can do.

OCar
First out of the gate is OCar. Made by Oxygen Audio, but featuring the distribution network and backend support of AAMP of America, this nifty device swallows the iPhone in its cradle and does not look bad in a single-DIN application when in landscape. But, the unit does allow the iPhone to be rotated to portrait mode.

Although this does increase the ‘goofy factor,’ it also allows the iPhone to be angled either toward the driver or passenger. It also allows for apps that just plain work better in portrait mode.

Moreover, it is essentially the first detachable faceplate your customers will actually remember to take with them (and not just in the bad part of town on the other side of the railroad tracks). If the surroundings start to look like the Bakaara Marketplace, then even the control knob is removable rending the leftovers rendered worthless to a thief. The customer just needs to download two apps, one for AM/FM and one for audio controls and then their iPhone essentially becomes the head unit.

There is something to be said about not having to worry whether your customer’s iPhone will integrate with the OCar. The only item that Ron Freeman, president of AAMP of America, astutely pointed out is, “There is a difference in the location of the ringer button between AT&T vs. Verizon phones, and we have taken that into account with different mounting options.” But Freeman puts it best by saying, “This is a hot new product that gets outside the box of traditional car audio thinking.” It may not be for everyone, but this could be the way the industry will migrate toward.

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