Three Clarion Products, Including Next GATE Innovative In-Vehicle Smartphone Controller for iPhone, Win Good Design Award

Good Design

Three products by Clarion Co., Ltd. (President, Tatsuhiko Izumi), including the Next GATE in-vehicle smartphone controller for iPhone on sale in North America, have won the 2012 Good Design Award.

Model Name
Next GATE In-Vehicle Smartphone Controller for iPhone
FZ502 In-Vehicle Digital Media Receiver
M502 Marine Digital Media Receiver


Overview of Entry

Users can install Next GATE onto the dashboard or the front windshield without any specialized knowledge. As soon as the access application (app) is installed to an iPhone® 4/4S, Next GATE offers safe and confident use of navigation, Internet radio, SNS and more. With the expanding number of app, users will also have access to future network-based content tailored for in-vehicle use. Developed specifically for in-vehicle use, Next GATE additionally works with voice control and read-aloud functions. It uses Bluetooth to help drivers make hands-free phone calls and listen to music.

Developer/Designers Comments

Our goal in developing Next GATE was to propose a new kind of in-vehicle device that works with cloud-based content. The exterior is thin and has the look of the source material to appeal to smartphone user tastes. The user interface really feels as if you are connected to your smartphone. Even so, it is designed to be operated safely and simply so it is intuitive to use in vehicles.

Judges’ Comments

The future is likely to bring more information advances for in-vehicle use. Next GATE lets motorists do more than use navigation and play music. It offers a comprehensive operations platform that anticipates the use of cloud services while driving. While it is half a step ahead of the times, sooner or later plenty of people will need products like this. The simple GUI appearance and hands-free interface design are just right and made to allow safe operation of new functions. All in all a very solid product.

FZ502 / M502

Overview of Entry

The in-Vehicle FZ502 and marine M502 digital media receivers play back music by USB, Bluetooth or AUX connection. The difference between the on-board and marine receivers are the coloring and the location of the USB/AUX ports (in front with the FZ502 and in rear with the M502), which reflects how they are used.

Developer/Designers Comments

When you design a product in a mature category, there is some value in following convention, i.e., respecting those design elements that history supports. But often such products inhibit new ideas and possibilities. In developing these products, we dared to base our design on somewhat unconventional thinking. In that sense we hope these products will spur people to share their design opinions with us.

Judges’ Comments

Nowadays it is commonplace to carry around large libraries of music on music players and smartphones. These products are a bold interpretation of the times and a radically different concept. Nearly all operations can be performed with just a large dial key. That enhances the environment in the vehicle visually and keeps it simple. Also, as users get used to product operation, this layout encourages safe and reliable operation while driving.

The Good Design Award is Japanese comprehensive design evaluation and commendation system, operated by Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization (JIDPO). The system was instituted by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry of Japan in 1957.

More than 1,000 companies and designers submit entries for consideration for the Good Design Awards each year. These entries are screened by distinguished design experts who are selected by JIDPO from various industries for assessing the worthiness of the Good Design Award. The main deciding factor for the Award selection is always based on whether or not product can enrich society and improve people's everyday lives through its design.

* Company and product names shown in this news release are trademarks and registered trademarks of their respective companies.

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