Rearview mirror kit adds Bluetooth, GPS, multimedia playback and touchscreen gaming
By Darren Quick
November 21, 2011
We've already seen rearview mirrors from the likes of Ford, Toyota and Mazda that display the vision from rear-mounted cameras, along with a GPS-enabled rearview mirror that includes a 4-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth. Now Hong Kong-based gadget wholesalers Chinavasion has started selling a kit that replaces any standard rearview mirror with a GPS and Bluetooth 2.1 enabled unit featuring a 4.3-inch touchscreen for multimedia playback and even playing touchscreen games (seriously), while DVR capabilities let you record what goes on inside and outside the car.
The mirror is designed to fit over a standard factory mirror and requires no installation or setup. It comes with both a charger that plugs into a car's DC connector and a power cable for a more permanent connection to the car's battery. The GPS is powered by a SiRF Atlas VI chip and a Centrality Atlas 4 Dual-Core 500 MHz processor and is compatible with most brands of GPS software, including TomTom, iGO, Route66. However, hardware specific software - Garmin for example - might run into problems.
The unit's microphone and speakers allow users to make and receive hands-free calls and listen to music via a Bluetooth connected mobile phone, while the included waterproof wireless rearview camera helps negotiate parking. There's also a camera embedded in the mirror itself that can record video (AVI, MOV, ASF, MP4, WMV) at up to 640 x 480 resolution at 30 fps onto SD or Micro SD cards of up to 32 GB capacity. The DVR functionality lets users record interior and exterior sound and vision that could come in handy in the case of an accident.
Multimedia playback capabilities provide video entertainment via the 480 x 272 pixel 4.3-inch touchscreen, with touchscreen games also included - although it's hard to see how it would be comfortable playing a game with an outstretched arm reaching up to the mirror. The unit also supports MP4, AVI, MPG, WMV and 3GP video, MP3, WMA and WAV audio, BMP, JPG, PNG and GIF images, as well as TXT documents for a little light reading on the road.
While factory-installed car multimedia systems will generally only function when the car is stationary, since the Chinavasion kit isn't hardwired into the vehicle it seems drivers will have to exercise their own common sense when deciding when it's appropriate to enjoy some video entertainment.
Aimed at eBay sellers, the Complete Car Bluetooth Rearview Mirror Kit comes with a 4 GB Micro SD card and 4 GB SD card and sells from Chinavasion for around US$200 for a single unit with discounts for bulk purchases.