FM transmitter borrows iPhone GPS

Belkin TuneCast Auto Live FM transmitter makes use of the iPhone's GPS and interface to find FM frequencies.

Clearscan Live app
The ClearScan Live app lets you choose an FM frequency with the iPhone. Belkin

FM transmitters, which let you play just about any MP3 device through a car stereo, tend to offer dubious performance, especially in areas with a lot of radio stations. But Belkin is leveraging the capabilities of the iPhone to improve its TuneCast Auto Live FM transmitter. Belkin's ClearScan Live app for the iPhone and iPod Touch offers a better interface to choose an FM frequency than what's available on the small FM transmitter.

Beyond the improved interface, the ClearScan Live app also uses the iPhone or iPod Touch's GPS capabilities to determine your location, then communicate with a central server to find clear frequencies in your area. Although this feature will make it easier to find the clearest frequencies, it still won't help in dense urban areas where every couple of hundred kilohertz is allotted to a high-power radio transmitter.

TuneCast Auto Live
Belkin's FM transmitter takes music from your iPhone and sends it via FM signal to your car's stereo. Belkin

Belkin's TuneCast Auto Live will be available this fall, for $79.99. The ClearScan Live app will be free and is designed to work with the iPhone OS 3.0, due out this summer.

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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