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Sony's XSP-N1BT turns your smartphone into an in-car entertainment system

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Sony has shown off its new XSP-N1BT smartphone cradle receiver at CES. The device sits in your car's dashboard, where it uses your smartphone to interface with your vehicle's audio system, becoming a head-unit that can play music, stream internet radio, and make hands-free calls. The cradle replaces your smartphone's native interface, replacing it with Sony's App Remote 2 when connected. App Remote 2 might not look as stylish as other smartphone interfaces, but it does offer voice control, allowing users to "hear and compose text messages and emails, obtain mapping information, and listen to notifications" without needing to move their hands.

The smartphone cradle lets users control their in-car entertainment with their voice

The cradle comes with both USB and Bluetooth connection options. iPhone owners will be able to use the USB connection for quick auto pairing, while Android users will be able to connect using Near Field Communication Bluetooth, a technology that Sony says should allow Android phones pressed against the cradle to automatically connect. The USB cable also functions as a charger, but owners of Sony's newest Xperia smartphones won't need to hook it up: the XSP-N1BT can charge them through an in-built magnetic connector.

The cradle comes with an IR remote that gives access to CD, USB, and tuner functionality without a smartphone attached. It will be available in May, for $250, and is currently on display at CES. We're hoping to have a hands-on with the device later in the coming days.