Car manufacturers are racing to integrate smartphones with infotainment systems, but one startup wants to cut to the chase and build a head unit around the iPhone.
Dash is a sleek, double-din automotive head unit concept that uses interchangable faceplates in which the driver snaps in his or her smartphone to use as the stereo's interface. Colorado-based Devium designed the product and has turned to Kickstarter.com to raise the money it needs to manufacture and sell it.
Smartphones attach to the faceplate and are held in place by a removable rubber lining in the cavity that snugly fits devices with or without protective covers or cases. When connected to the head unit, a customizable dashboard will display the user's car-centric applications in one place. Devium says that it's developing an app that will let you dial while the phone is in landscape position, but that has to first be approved by Apple.
The proposed initial faceplate works with the iPhone 4 and 4S and iPod Touch, and Devium plans to design and release new faceplates for other devices, such as Android phones or future Apple product versions if their dimensions change significantly.
They're not the first company trying to build and market an iPhone-based head unit. French audio manufacturer Oxygen Audio introduced last year the O'Car audio system, which integrates the iPhone into the head unit as well. Jackson Electronics also sells an iPhone-based aftermarket car stereo and is working on an accessory to mount an iPad to the head unit.
But Devium's product offers a cleaner design, which may appeal more to Apple fan boys. The company is trying to raise $45,000 in the next 54 days, and backers who pledge $250 will essentially be preordering the equipment, which will retail for $300. For $50 more you'll get a Dash with the iPhone 4/4S faceplate anodized in either black, red, blue, or white. It's not clear what the standard color is. If Devium is able to reach their its goal, the startup will begin shipping Dash in July 2012.
Source: CE Outlook