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Follow the Blackbird

Follow the Blackbird

Alpine has announced its first portable navigation unit at CES 2006: Called Blackbird, the unit is similar in size to Magellan's RoadMate 700. However, Alpine built up its own navigation expertise in designing the OEM head units found in Hondas and Acuras. The clean design of the Blackbird features a 3.5-inch LCD and a large four-way interface button, which lets you choose navigation, the media player, or vertical scrolling. The unit includes a 4GB hard drive, an SD slot, and 6 million points of interest. It has a built-in FM receiver for traffic from providers such as Clear Channel and a one-touch detour feature helps you find your way around problems. The text-to-speech feature reads out the names of roads during audible route guidance. The Blackbird's media player, built by Microsoft, handles a wide variety of formats and plays files from SD cards. The mounting base for the Blackbird includes an FM modulator so that music can be piped through your car's stereo system. The route guidance and media playback work together, muting music during audible route advisories. The 2005 Acura RL is one of our Car Tech Editors' Choices, so we expect a lot from the Blackbird.