What’s NEX(t) in 12V Aftermarket Head Units
The 12V head unit category has two exciting new additions dealers and consumers have been talking about. The first is a revolutionary idea by Soundstream by Epsilon Electronics that uses two screens. Some automakers, such as Honda and Nissan, have used two segregated screens for navigation and infotainment – and some consumers love it! For navigation, the driver just needs to look at the upper display. For adjusting the music, the consumer looks at the lower display. In fact, the unit proved so revolutionary that it created a controversy at CES, when it was introduced earlier this year. Seven prototypes of the units were stolen from the company’s booth in what was purported to be a case of corporate espionage. The company offered a $10,000 reward, but the case has not been solved as of yet.
In the meantime, orders for the VRN-DD7HB source unit will be fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. “We have had overwhelming response to this first-of-its-kind unit,” said Paul Goldberg, vice president, sales and marketing for Epsilon Electronics. “The accolades have come from the press, social media and consumer inquiries alike.” Concurrent operating systems running allow the user to operate the two different platforms simultaneously. The user has the option to control the included iGO powered GPS system on the upper display, or Android PhoneLink which mirrors the screen of the enabled smart device. The second operating system allows for the usage of typical features of a car multimedia system: DVD, Bluetooth connectivity, audio/video media playback by USB, FM receiver, rear view camera, etc.
Epsilon Electronics took its time in engineering the head unit. The motorized mechanism was especially considered for reliability in the field. I am sure technicians have used lower-priced units that refused to motorize open or shut when a plastic gear breaks. “Extensive details were considered for the build of this unique application,” Goldberg said. “Each high-resolution TFT-LCD display includes a capacitive touch screen panel, mimicking the interaction and experience of today’s smart devices. In an effort to ensure mechanical reliabilities, the independent motorization mechanisms use alloy steel gearing and high-torque drive motors, capable of standing up to the abuse of today’s road conditions.”