Tag Archives: parrot mki9000

Fully Integrate your car kit with Unika from Parrot

The Parrot MKi range of Car Kits are still the best car kits on the market. They’re fully compatible with just about every handset out there and no other Bluetooth Car Kit can come close to them on the number of features. With them being this great, you’d think that it’s not possible to make them much better, but Parrot have raised the bar again and introduced the Parrot Unika to further enhance the MKi Car Kits and allow you to fully control them using the controls already fitted to your steering wheel.

Fully integrate your Parrot MKi Car Kit with Unika

Parrot Unika integrates your Parrot MKi Car Kit with your Steering Wheel Controls

As standard the MKi car kits include a wireless remote control that will let you answer and end calls, activate voice dialling, control music playback and adjust the volume of calls and music which is great, but finding somewhere to mount the remote in car can be a little bit tricky.

Parrot Remote can be mounted on steering wheel or dashboard

Parrot Remote can be mounted on steering wheel

The MKi Car kits come with a couple of mounting options for the remote control – an adjustable strap that lets you attach it to your steering wheel or an adhesive plate that you can stick to the dash of your car. Both of these mounting options are good, but you can’t beat the stereo controls built into the steering wheel of your car. I’ve had the MKi9000 in my car for about a year now and I still try to adjust the volume with the stereo controls instead of the Parrot Remote.

Since the launch of the MKi series last year, the technical team at Parrot have been working hard to fully integrate the kits into cars and have just released the Unika – an additional control box that allows you to connect the Mki & RKi Car Kits to the stereo controls on your steering wheel, completely eliminating the need to use the remote control.

The Unika can be fitted to most vehicles, and if you’ve already got an MKi car kit fitted you can retro-fit one to your car without too much hassle. If you’re technically minded you should be able to fit it yourself, although you will probably need to remove some parts of your dashboard, I’ve just changed my car and didn’t fancy pulling it apart, so I got AutoTec to fit mine for me. The cost for the Mki9000 car kit, Parrot Adapter Cable, Parrot Unika and fitting worked out at £279. The kit and accessories on their own add up to about £210, so fitting was only about 70 quid which I think is more than reasonable.

Unika is compatible with Vauxhall, BMW, Ford & Honda Steering Wheel controls

Unika is compatible with Vauxhall, BMW, Ford & Honda Steering Wheel controls

Once installed, the Unika will use the the buttons on your steering wheel to control the kit instead of the remote control. The buttons that you use for each function will vary depending on your vehicle, and you don’t need to have any phone buttons on the steering wheel as the Unika will ‘re-map’ the functions of the steering wheel controls when connected to your phone or iPod. When you’re phones’ not connected you’ll be able to use the controls to operate your radio or CD player as normal.

You can check to see if your car is compatible and find out which buttons perform which function in your car on the Parrot Unika Support Site.

At the time of writing this post, these were the prices for the kit and accessories:

I’ve had mine in for a couple of days now, and I’m still getting familiar with the controls, so I’ll update this post in a couple of days time to give you an idea on how well it works.

Syncing your iPhone contacts to your Car Kit

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Visit unofficialmobileblog.co.uk for the latest posts

Bluetooth Car Kits are getting smarter, and most of them now support synchronising the contacts stored on your phone to the car kit to enable faster dialling, caller display, and enabling voice control – even on phones like the iPhone 3G that doesn’t support voice dialling. As great as this is though, it’s not quite as straight forward as you’d think as there are two different ways that phones and car kits talk to each other. I’ll apologise now if this gets a little confusing, but I’ll try and keep it as simple as I can.

Although Bluetooth is a pretty generic technology, there are a number of different bluetooth profiles and each bluetooth device uses different ones. The two that are needed to synchronise your contacts between your car kit and your phone are either PBAP – Phone Book Access Profile or OPP – Object Push Profile, but in order for it to sync, both the phone and the car kit need to support the same profile.

  • OPP – Object Push Profile – This is an older Bluetooth Profile, so should be supported by most phones and car kits that support contact sync. If the car kit supports the OPP profile then it is capable of receiving information that is sent or ‘pushed’ to it. In order to send your contacts to a car kit that uses OPP you will need to initiate the transfer of your contacts from your phone, either one by one or all at once. The only downside to this is that not all phones support sending your entire phonebook in one go.
  • PBAP – Phone Book Access Profile – This profile is one of the more recent Bluetooth Profiles, so not all phones or car kits support it. The advantage of the PBAP profile is that you don’t need to send your contacts to the car kit, the car kit will retrieve them from your phone automatically every time you connect.

Bluetooth support is limited on the iPhone and although it’s improving, it still doesn’t support all Bluetooth profiles – in particular the OPP profile. There is no way of sending any information from an iPhone over Bluetooth. This means that if you have a Bluetooth Car Kit that only supports OPP, you’ll only be able to use the car kit for calls, although features such as last number redial should still work fine. The iPhone does support the PBAP profile though – in fact it supports it brilliantly, so if you want to be able to sync your contacts make sure that the car kit you buy supports the PBAP profile, it should be listed in the technical spec of the user manual.

I’ve got the Parrot MKi9000 installed in my car and every time the car is started and my iPhone 3G connects, the kit checks my phone for any changes and and updates itself. Like I said before, the iPhone supports PBAP brilliantly, and when paired with a compatible car kit it gives you control over the information that is synchronised with the kit. You can chose which groups of contacts to sync – if any, as well as recent calls and favourites.

iPhone Car Kit Sync Options

iPhone Car Kit Sync Options - iPhone OS 3.1

From personal experience I’ve found that the best car kits for syncing your contacts are those made by Parrot. As well as supporting the iPhone fully, they also feature Text to Speech technology that announces the callers name when you receive a call and some will allow you to use voice dialling – even on the iPhone. It does this by matching the wave print of what you say against the Text to Speech wave prints for the contacts stored in the car kit. Most voice dialling kits require you to train your voice to them or to record your own voice tags for the contacts, and this normally doesn’t work too well. The current Parrot car kits that do all this are listed below. If you want more information on any of the kits, just click on the image or read my post on Parrot Car Kits.

Parrot MKi9200 Fully Fitted Car Kit

Parrot MKi9200 Fully Fitted Bluetooth Car Kit

Parrot MKi9100 Fully Fitted Bluetooth Car Kit

Parrot MKi9100 Fully Fitted Bluetooth Car Kit

Parrot MKi9000 Fully Fitted Bluetooth Car Kit

Parrot MKi9000 Fully Fitted Bluetooth Car Kit

Parrot CK3000 Portable Bluetooth Car Kit

Parrot MK6000 Fully Fitted Bluetooth Car Kit

Parrot Minikit Portable Bluetooth Car Kit

Parrot Minikit Slim Portable Bluetooth Car Kit

Parrot Minikit Chic Portable Bluetooth Car Kit

Parrot Minikit Chic Portable Bluetooth Car Kit