Drivers whose cars don't have bleeding edge smartphone integration systems don't have many options when it comes to accessing their smartphones while on the road. They can either break the law and put themselves in danger by perusing their phone while driving, or ignore every email, instant message, call and text they receive. If neither prospect seems overly inviting for you, you may be in luck.
Clarion has just announced its new Next GATE smartphone controller for the iPhone. The device, which features a 7-inch touch screen, connects directly to your iPhone via its Bluetooth connection. An included windshield mount puts the Next GATE within arms reach, without having to look down at your car's dash.
In addition to hands-free calling support, the Next GATE's biggest feature is its app integration. The device currently offers support for TuneIn radio, Pandora, Vlingo, INRIX Traffic and InfoGation, with more to come. Like any other telematics system, you'll have to install each of the apps on your iPhone before you can access them through Next GATE.
As for the Next GATE itself, Clarion says it includes a MicroSD card slot, built-in speaker, iPhone direct connect and charging capabilities, music and audio playback and compatibility with Clarion's Smart Access cloud service.
You won't have to wait long to get your hands on the Next GATE. Clarion says it goes on sale on June 1 and will be priced at $269.