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Alpine supplies tech to OEMs

Alpine announced partnerships with GM, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, supplying technology to the three OEMs.

Mercedes-Benz E Class interior

Alpine announced partnerships with GM, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. The maker of car audio equipment will be supplying technology to the three OEMs in three very different ways.

Starting with the most robust system, Alpine Electronics of America announced it is supplying head units to a global Mercedes-Benz program. Alpine head units are now available as standard, midlevel and premium equipment on the Mercedes-Benz SLK, SL, E-Class, CLS, A-Class, B-Class, M-Class, R-Class, GL, and G-Class vehicles in North America, Europe, Japan, China, Russia, Southeast Asia, Middle East, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

The premium system, on display at the 2009 Detroit auto show, includes a 40GB hard drive with space dedicated exclusively for music storage. Users can download thousands of their favorite MP3 tunes from an SD card reader or play media from a connected iPod or the six-disc DVD changer. Gracenote music tagging to capture artist, album, and song information of ripped audio. HD Radio capability keeps high quality music coming when your collection runs dry.

Convenience features include real time traffic information provided by Sirius Satellite Radio, Zagat restaurant guide. Voice recognition for system control and Bluetooth for hands-free telephone connectivity keep hands on the wheel, while text-to-speech (unfortunately, not available in the U.S.) keeps eyes on the road.

For General Motors, Alpine will supply a premium infotainment unit on the all-new 2010 Buick LaCrosse, 2010 Chevrolet Equinox, and 2010 Cadillac SRX. The unit will feature 2GB of onboard flash memory for music storage, as well as USB 2.0 for iPod and flash memory connectivity. Rounding out the audiovisual sources are a single DVD/CD player for both movies and audio and AM/FM/XM satellite radio tuner. A time-shift audio feature will allow listeners to pause, rewind, and replay up to one hour of XM Radio or AM/FM programming.

The system will integrate with GM's OnStar turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation and support rear-seat entertainment for DVD and audio output. A neat feature is the system's capability to play simultaneously two digital media audio files, so driver and back seat passengers can listen to different songs at the same time.

BMW Z4 sDrive35i interior
BMW of America

Alpine's partnership with BMW resulted in the massive center information display on the all-new 2009 BMW Z4 Roadster. Alpine's motorized clamshell-style display opens from the center stack and closes for a sleek look when not in use. The 1,280x480-pixel resolution 8.8-inch double VGA display is one of the largest center stack displays on the market. According to BMW and Alpine, this display helps improve at-a-glance recognition and reduces eyestrain when viewing the navigation maps and back-up camera.