Clarion is primarily known for its aftermarket car audio and navigation solutions, but it’s increasingly moving into the realm of smartphone integration. Looking to court iPhone users who’d appreciate the connectivity and convenience of Pioneer’s AppRadio, but don’t care to fuss with the installation, Clarion’s Next Gate can be easily mounted to one’s windshield. It offers access to popular apps such as TuneIn and Pandora, along with navigation, hands-free calling and voice-dialing functionality. Scarily enough, users will even be able to access Facebook and Twitter via the voice-activated Vlingo app — please, just promise to keep your focus on the road. The display itself is a 7-inch, WVGA affair, and as you’d expect, the unit is powered by the vehicle’s 12 volt accessory jack — otherwise known as the cigarette lighter receptacle. Similarly, the Next Gate connects to the iPhone via Apple’s dock connector, which means that users will need to manage a bit of cable clutter.
All in all, the Clarion Next Gate could certainly be a compelling solution for some, and its $270 price is within the realm of reason. While we’re a bit concerned about what it entails for driving distractions, the unit shouldn’t be any worse of a diversion than the ol’ smartphone itself. In fact, we’re most disappointed that there’s no support for Android. Those in the privileged iPhone community will be able to purchase the Next Gate as of June 1st, and you’ll find the full PR after the break.