Parrot's RKi8400 Car Stereo Ditches CD Drive, Goes Flash Media/iPod Only

These days, it's hard to find a new vehicle on the showroom floor without iPod support. Even lower-end automobiles are opting to add USB sockets in order to support Apple's iPhone and/or iPod, and one look at the company's latest earnings report will help you understand why. But what if you opted not to trade in your clunker last month? If you're still wheeling around with a cassette deck, it's probably time to get with the program.

Parrot's new RKi8400 is here to help, bringing an iPhone/iPod-centric head unit to single-DIN radio openings that are commonly found in late model vehicles. The fully integrated car stereo looks somewhat odd compared to most CD players, and that's probably because there's no optical drive here. Instead, you'll find a USB port for connecting digital media files stored on external hard drives/flash drives, an SD card reader and a double line-in socket for pretty much everything else. Of course, you can also connect your iPod or iPhone, and the built-in Bluetooth even allows music to be streamed in from BT-equipped cellphones and calls to be taken via the handsfree approach.

There's also a handy compartment for iPhone/iPod storage just behind the faceplate, and the 200 watt MOS-FET amplifier should provide plenty of "oomph" to your factory speakers. Back on the topic of iPhone/iPod, this device's menu system is tailor made to function with Apple's players, providing a clean look at artists, titles and record names on the 2.4" color display. Finally, Parrot even includes the ability to update the deck via firmware refreshes, ensuring that future iPhone OSes don't kill compatibility for too long. Interested? It should be making its way to your local audio shop for $400.