9-3N Infotainment system

Saab 9-3 EV infotainment. Image by Teknikens Värld
Saab 9-3 EV infotainment. Image by Teknikens Värld

In February we found first pictures of what could be a new and modern navigation system for the 2014 9-3.

It was not until April that we found an official reference to a new infotainment system in the Chinese spec. sheet of the 9-3 2014/15.

Those two posts where more or less based on rumours with some confirmation from NEVS, but still we had no real pictures of the system and we had only some rumours about the hardware-platform it was based on, but those where not 100% right.

It was not till the presentation of the electric 9-3 that we saw the first real pictures of this infotainment system (we have talked in the past of it as a navigation system, but the it is more capable than a simple navigation system, thus I will talk about an infotainment system). The guys at Teknikens Värld took some better pictures of the interior of the 9-3 EV the same day, and have been kind enough to let us use them.

With this post I will try to summarize all the information we have, partly confirmed, about that system, and talk a little bit about why NEVS has made a right option for the future with this system.

We in a past post said

A couple of very good sources to SU states that the navigation system that NEVS is working on for the 9-3N is actually the Parrot Asteroid system, …

This is fully correct, but we at that point thought that Parrot Asteroid meant Parrot Asteroid Smart, but this is wrong. The Parrot Asteroid Smart is a after-market infotainment system from Parrot that can be mounted on almost any car with a free 2DIN bay.

Parrot Asteroid Smart
Parrot Asteroid Smart

As you can see, not only the user interface differs between both. The main (visual) differences are:

  • Bigger screen (8″ vs. 6,2″)
  • Differently looking User interfaces
  • Android buttons are differently positioned

So we can say that this is not an Asteroid Smart, but it may be something similar.

Parrot, the company behind the Asteroid Smart system, and some funny civilian camera drones, does also have an in-car infotainment system hw-platform based on Android, and they are keen to sell it to as many OEM’s (car companies) as possible. One famous OEM using this platform is Volvo. It began with the “Sensus Connected Touch”, which has received some awards, and now the fancy center screen on the XC-90 and any Volvo to come will also be based on that.

Volvo XC-90. Image by Volvo.
Volvo XC-90. Image by Volvo.

Among the brands using the Parrot OEM technology (now or in future cars) you can find the BMW-Group, the Volkswagen Group, Ford, Hyunday-Kia and Mclaren.

The Saab unit is also based on the same HW-platform that other important car manufacturers will use in the near future in their cars, which means that NEVS has invested in a good quality back-end, and a back-end that will be further developed as the market needs, without having to fund that development fully.

So, what has been done by NEVS on that unit? In fact little, as the work has been done done by Swedspot. Swedspot is a company funded in the beginning of 2012 by some of the heads behind the former SAAB IQon. But on the other side a lot as they had to design the head unit, the user interface and the integration of the system into the car.

The system will be called IQon, and will have everything you can find in a modern in-car infotainment system. Well, almost, I was hopping to find a rear view camera in that system, but the 9-3N will not have a rear view camera. But currently we will have to get the dust settled, and maybe afterward when the future of NEVS looks a little bit brighter, we may be allowed to have a peak on the system.

I’ve talked with NEVS about retrofitting the system and the answer was not as expected but sincere. There are many changes in the MY14 9-3, so that such a system can’t be easily retrofitted to a 2007-2012 9-3. But anyone with lots of time and a some budged could do it, but I expect you will have to change so many parts that any other solution would be better.


Yes, I’ve written this, because I still think that SAAB, as a car brand, is not dead. I have always been a dreamer about SAAB, but maybe is only because I hate having to buy a driving appliance instead of a car.

Have a nice weekend !!

13 thoughts on “9-3N Infotainment system”

  1. Great article Red, very interesting and smart move by Nevs!

    Saab is not dead. That’s a statement with a minimal set of details. Saab is idling I’d say, or perhaps taxing like a plane making its way to the runway. Oh, it’ll fly, soon enough. Just you wait! ;D

  2. Nice article – and nice system NEVS!

    I will like to suggest to NEVS that they shared some informations with the Saab-community on this topic – it might be the case that we will help to make a retrofit!

    Why is that a good idea?

    1) Stay in contact with the Saab customers!
    2) Many systems now needs to be updated!
    3) This means potential many customers – total higher figures, better prices for NEVS.
    4) A lot of Saab fans have the skills to help – and will like to do so!
    5) A lot of NEVSs customers to new cars – will be the hardcore fans!
    6) I guess that many fans will like to support NEVS by buying such things
    – but NEVS does not sell anything!

    I fully understand that NEVS look forward at new products, we all do also!
    – but then allow some fans with electronic skills to take a look at the possibilities for doing a retrofit.

    • I think currently, such a “community” project is not on top of their priority lists, thus the answer from NEVS. But nevertheless they haven’t said no to it, it is just a “it is not a plug and play solution.

      Maybe, when the dark clouds disappear in Trollhättan the community can discuss with NEVS about a retrofitting kit.

  3. The new XC90 interior is awesome – best in class! I wonder how many former Saab employees worked on it – I can see a few Saab touches throughout.

  4. Glad to read this. The above picture just looks like an android phone has been stuck in a car (which looks pretty ugly), the lower one looks much more refined.

  5. I love Saab but this infotainment system does not feel like them. The design is quite ugly to me and is I wanted something that felt like Android I’d just bring my android tablet. There should still be nobs and bottoms, Its much harder to touch a glassy surface than to turn a nob. I believe there should atleast be a volume nob. Also, replace that led display with an amoled one. With amoled you can turn off the back light in blacks to reduce brightness in the car. This would also be great for nightpanel so it would turn off the stuff you don’t need on the display.

    Saab IQon video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BOd9oX1p4s

  6. I have been looking around a bit for systems that can be retrofitted in older Saabs, and there are a few options. One example here:
    I think the same equipment is available on international sites like Ali Express. On paper this seem to have most of the goodies you want like navigation, steering wheel button control and Bluetooth. And the installation is plug and play. I haven’t the faintest idea about the quality. Has anyone tried out a system like this?
    I have the Harman Kardon stereo in my Saab and I do not want to trade it away. I am exploring options to extend it using cell-phone connection devices or a Bluetooth adapter. When I go about doing this, I will write an article here on SU to explain the procedure and the result.

  7. Great article, RedJ, and thanks for the little ray of sunshine you have given. Personally I think it looks really clean and Scandinavian, as Saab should be. Full marks for showing this too. I love my 04 9-3 dash, with all the buttons, though and it makes me smile every time I drive it. In its day it was well received and still is today, for that model. You wonder how this unit will look in 5 years and how clean and uncluttered it will then look. The dash interface in a car is such a subtle thing and must be right for the driver to bond with the car. Get it wrong and pay the price!
    NG 9-5 unfinished dash anyone?

  8. The frame around the air-intakes and infotainment in the Volvo-picture is a good example of real bad design, if you ask me… And it is even done in a place that most likely allows some freedom in the form-laungage (because there must be some unused space around behind the dash) …

  9. Interesting article since I work with these systems, but I need to correct errors in the text:

    Volvo Connected Touch is a quite simple add-on to the “old” system introduced 2010 with limited functionality. That system is Parrot, correct.

    However, the new Volvo system Sensus Connect, introduced last fall, is NOT Parrot and the system in the all-new XC90 is NOT Parrot.

    Just to set things straight.

    • Parrot and Volvo both said with the announcement of the Sensus connect, that all their future infotainment systems will be based on that architecture.
      You can send me an E-Mail, if you want to further discuss it.

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