"If the automobile were invented today, I'm pretty sure it would debut here at CES." So said Rick Wagoner, the boss of General Motors, in his keynote address at CES 2008 before unveiling GM's hydrogen fuel-cell-powered Cadillac Provoq. Wagoner's sentiments were echoed by the show's organizers who, for the first time, dedicated an entire hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center to in-vehicle technologies.
Among the booming bass bins and the pimped-out rides a number of innovative products took our fancy. Pioneer's AVIC-F500BT LINC combines portable and in-dash navigation in one device, complete with next-generation voice-recognition and information on traffic, gas prices and movie times information service from MSN Direct. Azentek's full-fledged Windows Vista-based in-dash PC promises to bring the desktop to the blacktop, while Kenwood showed off its prototype for high-speed in-car digital TV, to go on sale later this year.
CNET took advantage of the car tech buzz by setting up its own testing lab, in which we installed over a dozen different products over the course of three days, including new all-in-one navigation and multimedia devices from Jensen and Eclipse, as well as a unique digital sound processing technology from JVC and Bongiovi acoustics.
Elsewhere, Ford used the show to make an announcement on its exclusive contract with Sony for car audio, and to show off its new hard drive-based navigation system featuring Sirius Travel Link, while a slew of updated car stereos from Sony, Panasonic, and Pioneer promises to keep us busy in the CNET reviews department for the year ahead.