Honda might by an Android Auto partner but that hasn’t stopped it from launching its own Android-powered in-car infotainment system. The car maker earlier today unveiled the Honda Connect infotainment system, which will be powered by NVIDIA Tegra chips and run on Android 4.0.4 (yes, ICS).
Honda notes that Connect’s development had started well before it joined the Open Automotive Alliance to work on Android Auto, so it is bringing it to the market while Android Auto continues gets ready for the road. Also, the testing of infotainment system takes far longer than phone, thus the Connect is running on such an old version of Android.
Honda Connect will first be available as a part of Honda’s Civic, Civic Tourer and CR-V models next year in Europe. There is no word on the release in other markets.
According to the company, Honda Connect includes a 7-inch capacitive display, Tegra 3 quad-core processor, Bluetooth and GPS. Honda is using a custom interface to make Android easier to use in a car. The home-screen includes a grid of six large buttons, which give access to the likes of navigation, Honda App Center, audio, car-information, rear-view parking camera, radio and more. App Center can be used to download apps for the system and only seems to house the Android apps that have been vetted by Honda for on-road use. The company is also pre-loading Aha Radio app as well as support for MirrorLink on compatible phones to push the phone display to the vehicle.
“Honda Connect is MirrorLink-enabled, delivering seamless connectivity between the system and the user’s smartphone – provided it is compatible. This technology enables the user to mirror their smartphone display through Honda Connect and gain access to their smartphone applications,” Honda noted in a press release.
In addition, The car-maker will offer optional pre-loading of Garmin Navigation for turn-by-turn direction needs.