Oct. 3, 2012 - Voice recognition experts Parrot again made it easier and safer to communicate and be connected while driving with the debut of their new line of hands-free technology, the Parrot ASTEROID, Oct. 3 in Detroit. The Paris-based company, which has an office in Southfield, Mich., detailed the features of the phone, Internet and navigation product.
"Today we are focused on our ASTEROID range - our in-car solutions, that are all based on the Android operating system, allowing connection to the Internet and apps," explained Peter George, vice president. "You have full navigation, car stereo, digital media, iPod connectivity; with the larger one you can connect to rearview video systems or run videos for children in the back seats. It is your full multi-media solution."
Also today, Parrot unveiled the ASTEROID marketplace, a site designed specifically for the ASTEROID products. Apps are downloaded directly to the ASTEROID device.
Parrot ASTEROID comes in three models, the Mini, Tablet and Smart, based on Android smartphone functionalities and in prices ranging from $299 to $599. The products launch in November.
A dedicated app for the Parrot Minikit Neo, a portable and more affordable hands-free communication device, is available on the Android marketplace and downloads to your smartphone. Among offerings on the App are a driving time reminder, an automatic response reply that lets texters or callers know you are driving and will respond shortly, and a "Find My Car" GPS-enabled system that helps you locate your car in the parking lot.
Parrot does about $350 million in annual sales, and roughly $100 million of that is as an OEM supplier to automakers. Car manufactures are installing the chip set that drives the Parrot system in new cars, mostly on the European and Asian market. The company, which began in 1994, has 800 employees, with about 20 in Southfield, explained Henri Seydoux, president and founder.
"Because we come originally from software development, voice recognition and cell phone technology we have developed a good business. We also do the cool gadgets such as the drone and headphones, among others," Seydoux said.
Bluetooth low energy and smartphone technology for the car is a great opportunity for growth in the future, he added.
The new line includes functionalities such as:
- Infotainment. Access to numerous Apps and content via 3G, 4G key or via Bluetooth or USB tethering from a mobile phone or tablet.
- Music. Connection to various musical sources and voice-activated search for artists
- Navigation. Navigation/GPS solutions adapted to each Parrot Asteroid model.
- Hands-free telephony. Compatibility with all brands of Bluetooth mobile phones on the market, automatic phone book synchronization; user independent voice recognition; text-to-speech; dual mode mobile phone connection.
Parrot also makes a small, flying drone -- the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 -- equipped with a high definition camera that can be controlled from your phone or tablet; and high-end, wireless touch-controlled headphones called the Parrot Zik.
A Cadillac Escalade equipped with the ASTEROID Smart showed off the technology in the conference room at the Wayne County Port Authority in Detroit. The ASTEROID Classic model was introduced about a year ago.