If you're a tech enthusiast with an older vehicle, you might be slightly disappointed that you don't have access to all the fancy toys that modern cars ship with. Multimedia touch-screens, Android Auto and/or CarPlay functionality, and even games are all features that you might feel you're missing out on.
However, you don't necessarily have to feel that way forever. There are already various third-party gadgets that you can take advantage of if you want to equip your car with some of those features, but Sony's upcoming Android Auto or CarPlay receiver could prove to be one of the better options out there.
For starters, the device is absolutely massive, coming in at 9 inches -- that's considerably more screen space than most of its competitors offer, but it comes at a (literal) cost. The XAV-AX8000, as Sony has dubbed it, will run you $600 when it launches in December. That's certainly a lot of money, but according to ExtremeTech, that cost pales in comparison to the $1,000-and-up asking prices of competing receivers.
At any rate, pricey or not, the XAV-AX8000 could be a worthwhile buy for some. By connecting your Android or iOS smartphone into the display (with a cable or via Bluetooth), you can access Android Auto and CarPlay (respectively) functionality on a much larger screen. You'll be able to use Siri or Google Assistant to answer questions or help you organize your shopping list, while using the screen itself (and its various other hardware shortcut buttons) to navigate, send and receive messages, and play music or audiobooks at your leisure.
As with other aftermarket displays of this nature, Sony's upcoming receiver can be mounted in your car's center console area. It ships with a mount that can be adjusted in three ways, which should allow for relatively easy and versatile installation.
So, what's the benefit of this receiver over simply propping up your smartphone in roughly the same place? According to Sony, the answer is two-fold: convenience and safety.
The device's large screen means you'll theoretically be able to see on-screen information more easily at a glance and thus won't have to spend as much time scrolling through menus, squinting at a small interface, or fiddling with controls. The less time you dedicate to looking at or interacting with a non-critical device while driving, the better.
Pre-orders for the XAV-AX8000 are not available yet, but you can sign up to be notified when orders go live right here.