German audio manufacturer Blaupunkt has announced the first internet radio for vehicles, which it developed in conjunction with an Australian company.
The single-sized Hamburg internet radio is used in conjunction with a 3G mobile to stream internet stations.
The system uses a Bluetooth connection to stream internet radio from a 3G-capable mobile phone, and was developed in conjunction with Melbourne-based company MiRoamer, which specialises in streaming audio.
Blaupunkt currently has two prototypes, which they had running at CES, the single-DIN Hamburg 600i and the double-DIN New Jersey 600i. The products are scheduled to be released locally in the second half of 2009, and are expected to start from €299 (AU$600).
The system will also support AM/FM radio, CD and USB-based music, though iPods wouldn't be able to be controlled via the head unit.
MiRoamer CEO George Parthimos said his company had been developing the system with Blaupunkt for the past 18 months. He said they had been "waiting for the right time" to release the system on the market.
Parthimos said he didn't see much competition from Digital Radio Plus as he said people wouldn't see digital radio as a value proposition versus the tens of thousands of stations available through this system.
Talks to have the system pre-installed on high-end vehicles such as Lexus and BMW are currently underway, said Parthimos. He added that there are also no plans to make a module that can be retrofitted to existing systems.
Ty Pendlebury is attending CES 2009 as a guest of LG.