The AVIC D3 is Pioneer's latest in-dash DVD-based navigation and entertainment system. The D3 improves on the D2, incorporating some of the features of Pioneer's flagship AVIC Z-1 hard-drive-based system and adding some extra features of its own. It has an increased range of multimedia options, such as video-playback capabilities (both regular DVD and DivX compressed video formats are supported), as well as the ability to wirelessly play streamed audio via the A2DP Bluetooth profile. With optional add-ons, the unit will also play iPods and act as a satellite radio receiver. On the navigation front, the AVIC D3 inherits some of the advanced functions of the Z1, including the optional XM traffic service.
Visteon's HD Jump is an HD-radio decoder that enables drivers to take their digital radio on the road. It connects to car's audio system with either an auxiliary input jack or an FM band for those cars without an aux-in. It has an integrated monochromatic display that displays real-time artist, song title, and station information. The HD Jump comes with a docking cradle for your car, and is expected to go on sale in the first quarter of 2007 for about $200.
The CDX-HS70MW is the latest in Sony's oceangoing-stereo lineup, and it follows on the heels of the company's line of Marine head units, amps, and speakers. In addition to being able to weather a tempest and remain unscathed, the unit supports MP3-encoded discs, is prewired for satellite radio inputs and iPods, has a 52Wx4 output, and is resistant to UV rays and salt exposure.
With its launch of iLane, Intelligent Mechatronic Systems is proving that the age of in-car e-mail is already upon us. The device uses Bluetooth connectivity and text-to-voice technology to read out incoming e-mails received by a driver's PDA or smart phone. Drivers are notified of an incoming message by a chime, after which the system proceeds to read out the text of the message in a comprehensible robotic voice via the car's speakers. Drivers can then dictate a response, which is recorded and sent as an MP3 file to the sender's computer.
There also are 10 preset responses--selected by driver voice command--which are e-mailed as text responses. The device doubles as a hands-free interface, enabling drivers to dial phone numbers using voice commands. To use iLane, you'll need a Bluetooth-enabled, e-mail-capable mobile device and either a Bluetooth headset or a Bluetooth-enabled stereo (such the KDCX890). iLane should go on sale in March and cost "under $1,000," according to IMS.
Specifically designed for drivers, Motorola's iRadio enables owners of select Motorola devices equipped with the stereo Bluetooth profile (such as the Motorola Q) to compile commercial-free playlists of songs from an online database and then use their mobile devices to wirelessly stream the music through their cars' audio systems. The service comes complete with its own software program for downloading music, as well as an in-car Bluetooth receiver module, which can be connected to any head unit via the auxiliary- or satellite-radio inputs. iRadio subscribers can upload up to six "radio stations" to their phone or PDA (via a USB connection) per day, with each station playing a maximum of four hours of genre-specific music. The system is expected to ship in spring 2007 at a cost of between $149 and $199 for the hardware, and $7 to $10 per month for subscription fees.
The Moto T605 Automotive Music & Hands-free System allows drivers to use Bluetooth-enabled Motorola phones or digital music players to wirelessly stream audio through car speakers. The T605 doubles as a hands-free calling device and features a jack to enable users to plug-in MP3 players not equipped with the Bluetooth audio (or A2DP) profile, such as iPods. According to Moto, the T605 works in a way similar to OEM Bluetooth systems: it pauses music when it detects an incoming call and resumes the stream when you hang up.
The XDMA690 is a single-DIN stereo head unit that can be used to control streamed audio from an iPod. All iPod controls (except Shuffle) can be programmed via the buttons on the faceplate, with playlist, artist, album, and song title all showing up on the unit's monochrome display. The XDMA690 ships with a two-meter iPod interface cable, and it's able to play CDs and both MP3- and WMA-encoded discs. Dual reps tell us it will retail for between $129 and $139.
Johnson Controls, the company that supplies Toyota Motor Corporation with its fancy Bluetooth technology, is making the same system available as an aftermarket installation. The BlueConnect module fits in the hole that you (or professional installers) will have to cut out of your car's roof. With the push of a button, BlueConnect enables drivers to make and receive calls via their paired-up Bluetooth phones. The device supports voice dialing, can store more than 1,000 phone book entries, and can be yours for $239, not including installation.
Alpine is attacking the car tech market from all angles with a range of handheld GPS navigation units and a line of separate multimedia receivers. The company used its first appearance at the SEMA show to launch an in-car dock that allows drivers to connect its popular, traffic-ready, portable Blackbird navigation device to other Alpine audio-visual displays. By plugging the Blackbird into the PMD-DOK1, drivers get a better view of its maps and a bigger touch screen interface.