New Kenwood Firmware Update Is Here with Android Auto and CarPlay Improvements

Kenwood has recently released a new firmware update for some of its head units, and this time the focus has been on improving the experience with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Kenwood DDX8906S 8 photos
Photo: Kenwood
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While Kenwood doesn’t provide a great amount of details on the changes that are part of the October 30, 2020 firmware update, it does mention that it includes improvements for “Apple CarPlay function” and “Android Auto function.” As a bonus, there are refinements for iDataLink and unnamed stability enhancements.

As for the head units that are getting the new firmware update, Kenwood names just two, DDX8906S and DMX906S, though some might be receiving the new bits too. At this point, however, it looks like Kenwood’s priority is updating the 2019 head units first.

Installing the new firmware update is easy as pie, as you just need to extract the files in the archive and then copy them to a flash drive. On the head unit, head over to settings and initiate the software update. Plug in the USB drive to the head unit, and then wait for the whole thing to come to an end. Full instructions on how to update your Kenwood head units are available in the attached PDF file.

Kenwood says it takes approximately 5 minutes for the firmware update to be completed, after which the head unit is supposed to reboot to finalize the installation.

As far as Android Auto users are concerned, one of the most common problems with Kenwood head units was a random disconnecting that happened when the wireless mode was used. The issue was first reported in mid-2019, and Google itself revealed earlier this year that it reached out to Kenwood to develop a fix.

Thanks to those who reached out to us with the bug reports. From the reports, our engineers were not able to determine any related wireless connection issues. We have informed Kenwood of this issue and they are currently investigating. We’ll share more updates when they are available,” an Android Auto team member said in April.

At this point, neither Google nor Kenwood confirmed that the wireless disconnecting problem is fixed after the firmware update.
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 Download: Kenwood HU firmware update instructions (PDF)

About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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