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January 05, 2011

Parrot Releases Its "Smart" Car Radio to Europe

While the world is inundated with the latest innovations of “smart” devices, consumers can now look to upgrade their car radios into the realm of 3G technology.

French mobile technology company, Parrot will release its “smart” car radio to Europe in March with hopes of releasing the product into the U.S. later this year.

Project Manager Hocine Belkhoudja said in a press release that the radio will allow users to “listen to the world on the web.”

"You can search for coffee or restaurants nearby, gas stations with the lowest prices or free parking," he said.

The Asteroid in-dash receiver has USB ports for MP3 players, GPS devices, as well as 3G network wireless Internet service keys used for laptop computers. 

According to Belkhoudja, the 3G keys link the radios to the Web, enabling applications to access online services or data, in addition to allowing motorists to use the radio to make hands-free telephone calls.

Parrot designed open-source Android (News - Alert) mobile software in order for Asteroid to host a variety of applications. Whether providing maps and driving routes, or taking spoken requests for a specific song or artist, the radio will scour all connected devices in addition to the Web to satisfy the request.

A dash-mounted, touch screen Asteroid is the next phase of development for this new product, but Parrot was not able to give a date for its release. 

The price for this “smart” radio has not yet been established, however, Belkhoudja promises that it will be “very impressive.”

The company will show off the Asteroid at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES (News - Alert)) in Las Vegas, opening this Thursday.

Parrot has conducted research in the past, gathering the general sentiment of consumers when it comes to regulation of cell phone use while driving. The company found many respondents favored hands free devices while conducting a U.S. based survey.

Janice McDuffee has worked in marketing, editing and freelance writing for companies including SheKnows and HBM Inc. after receiving her master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

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