Electronics giant Sony has announced a range of new products designed to make connecting smartphones and navigation systems to your car, easier than ever. The new XAV-602BT smartphone connected in-dash AV receiver allows you to use Android or iOS smartphone applications through a receiver, rather than through the phone itself.

This means a simplified interface optimized for in-car use, and on Android devices, the extra option of voice control for hands-free app operation. Another new module, the XA-NV300T, brings real-time TomTom travel information and mapping to your car--with no network connections or data costs to worry about, as it operates independently of your phone.

Both devices will arrive in October, priced at $549.99 and $249.99 respectively.

The new Sony devices are the latest sign that electronics and computing companies are muscling in on the world of in-car infotainment and connectivity--previously an arena duked out by the automakers themselves. Last year, Apple filed a patent for an in-car smartphone remote control device, and just last month another for tactile-feedback touchscreen infotainment.

The latter can replicate the feel of real buttons using configurable feedback, yet remains near-endlessly adaptable depending on whatever is shown on the screen at the time. And naturally, it'll feature seamless integration with Apple's own handheld devices.

It's more evidence of the speed at which electronics companies can develop technology, compared to automakers whose technology may even be out of date by the time it hits the streets. As Sony, Apple, Google and others move into in-car infotainment and connectivity, it may not be long until automakers step away from in-car tech entirely.


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