Category: Car Entertainment

Pioneer debuts new nav system, receivers

Electronista: Pioneer has expanded its line of vehicle products with several new receivers, a navigation system, and three amplifiers.

The AVIC-X920BT (European model: AVIC-F920BT for April 2010 launch) navigation system features a new interface claimed to offer advanced features while reducing the number of layers required for operation. Users can navigate the menus directly from the 6.1-inch touchscreen, while speech recognition technology enables the system to be controlled without physical interaction.

Pioneer AVIC-X920BT

Along with the standard playback support for CDs and DVDs, the system also integrates 4GB of flash memory and a USB port for connecting an iPod, iPhone, or other compatible devices. Users can install an iTunes plug-in, MusicSphere, that analyzes music and creates playlists based on musical attributes.

The USB port also enables Pandora playback, although the service is currently limited to the iPhone. The iPhone requirement will be in place through 2010, although company executives claimed they are considering other options for the future. Pandora founder Tim Westergren, also present at the Pioneer event, expressed a similar desire to expand the service.

An ECO Driving function analyzes driving characteristics such as acceleration and speed, which are used to create reports estimating environmental impact. Users can view suggestions for improving fuel efficiency, while a Drive Score compares performance between trips on the same route.

Pioneer also introduced new double-DIN receivers, the AVH-P3200DVD, AVH-P3200BT, and AVH-P4200DVD; along with the AVH-P5200DVD and AVH-P5200BT single-DIN models.

The devices integrate touchscreen displays ranging in size from 5.8 inches to 7 inches, along with USB connections for attaching iPods and iPhones. Each integrates the company’s MOSFET50 50 Watt amplifiers driving four channels.

For further customization, the company has announced three new “GM Digital” Class-D amplifiers including the four-channel GM-D9500F and two monoblock models, the GM-D8500M and GM-D7500M. The 8500 variant produces 75 Watts across four channels, while the monoblock 8500 and 7500 push 300 Watts and 200 Watts, respectively, on a single channel.

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Ford 2010 cars to support iTunes Tagging

iPodNN: Some Ford cars shipping next year will support iTunes Tagging, the automaker has announced.

In vehicles equipped with HD Radio receivers, people will be able to push “Tag” buttons on their displays, automatically saving the track data from on-air music.

Once an iPod is docked with a car via Ford Sync, up to 100 tags will be transferable for later display in iTunes. Tagged songs are generally meant to be bought through the iTunes Store.

HD Radio remains a relatively niche technology, but is now said to be an option for just under 2,000 radio stations in the US. Ford has not revealed which car lines will support the tagging technology.

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2011 Audi A8 packs optional EDGE, Google Earth

Engadget: We’re guessing it won’t be the tipping point that finally convinces you to buy an Audi A8, but it looks like those in the market for the car will be able to add a nice little option to the 2011 model: a built-in nav system complete with Google Earth and a GPRS / EDGE modem.

Audi Edge

Yeah, so it’s not 3G, but it is apparently the first time that Google Earth has been made available in a production vehicle, which certainly counts for something.

In addition to serving up various Google-sourced points of interest, that modem will also let you download a range of other up-to-date information to the nav unit, although it’s not clear exactly what that will entail. No word on how much it’ll add to the cost of the A8, but it looks like it won’t be available right when the car rolls out early next year — Audi is only saying “mid 2010″ at the moment.

Update: As some commenters have helpfully noted, it seems that while the A8 won’t initially roll out with 3G, it will be getting a UMTS modem in mid 2010, which should provide the bandwidth necessary for Google Earth and allow for simultaneous voice and data connections.

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Pioneer’s new car CD tuners offer SD-card, advanced connectivity

Pioneer Europe: Three new high-power CD tuners, providing the versatility of both SD cards and USB connectivity, will be available from Pioneer across Europe in January.

All 3 models allow you to connect an iPod, iPhone, portable MP3 player or USB device, or simply insert an SD card.

Pioneer DEH-7200SD

Each tuner also offers complete flexibility when it comes to connecting extra amplifiers, speakers and subwoofers. Engineered to the best-in-class audio standards that Pioneer has set over the years, these new tuners enhance the sound quality of compressed music to ensure a dynamic in-car listening experience.

The new CD tuners each have an SD Card Slot discreetly hidden behind their front panels, compatible with both SD and SDHC cards. The units allow playback of MP3, WMA, WAV and AAC files from SD.

Other versatile connections include a front USB high-speed 2.0 direct interface to simply link USB audio devices and immediately enjoy a selection of tunes.

All three new models are designed as the most dynamic solution to connect and improve playback performance for iPods and iPhones. With iPod Direct Control, consumers can connect their iPod straight to the tuner’s Front USB terminal and take charge of their music from behind the wheel. As a handy extra, the iPod will charge while connected.


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Chevy outfits cars with 3G-to-Wi-Fi hotspots

Electronista: Chevrolet today became the latest automaker in the US to add roving Internet access to its vehicles.

The Avalanche, Equinox, Express, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe and Traverse all now have an after-sale option of an Autonet router that provides a 1.5Mbps connection even at speed.

Like the Chrysler option, it accomplishes the feat by sharing a 3G link over a local Wi-Fi hotspot that shares the connection with passengers and those within a 150-foot radius.

Service costs $29 (€19) per month and requires a dealer install, but the router itself will cost $199 (€136) on a two-year contract if bought before the end of the year. It normally costs $399 (€272).

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Nissan introducing low-cost navigation systems this January

Engadget: Now here’s a good idea: a built-in GPS navigation system that’s actually priced to move. Co-developed with Bosch, Nissan has put together a $400 (€265) option with a 5-inch touhcscreen, Bluetooth support for phones, USB connectivity for media players, iPod integration, XM Satellite and NavTraffic.

The Detroit News was certainly impressed, testing it on a new Sentra and calling it a moment where the benefits of the built-in nav systems outweigh the costs — although the display was maybe a bit too small for its liking. Look for it to these to hit in some of its lower-priced models starting this January. Hit up the source link for the full impressions.

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ArcherMind shows off ‘world’s first’ Android-based in-car nav system

Engadget: One could argue that the Motorola Droid is in fact the first-ever Android-based in-car navigation solution, but we’re surmising that ArcherMind would disagree.

Over at the Embedded Technology 2009 trade show in Yokohama, the outfit has demonstrated an Android-laden navigation system that could actually be inserted as a factory option; curiously enough, it looks an awful lot like the AutoLinQ initiative that hit our radar back in June.

The outfit is reportedly shopping the system — which includes a 7-inch, 800 x 480 display — to a variety of Chinese automakers, and given that it can browse the web via WiFi or 3G, connect with music players and phones over Bluetooth and even play back audio files stored on the HDD or SD slot, we can’t imagine it being a tough sell.

Andriod Sat Nav

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Pioneer Halves Fundraising Target, Citing Earnings

Bloomberg: Pioneer Corp., the Japanese maker of car-navigation systems and audio equipment, halved its fundraising target, citing improving earnings, cost reductions and asset sales.

Pioneer, which had previously estimated it would raise 40 billion yen ($442 million) by March 2012, will continue to consider all possible funding measures, President Susumu Kotani said today. Pioneer separately reported its first-half net loss shrank 7.3 percent to 40.9 billion yen, in line with preliminary estimates disclosed last week.

Lowering the target amount may help Tokyo-based Pioneer find buyers of its new shares after postponing a planned offering to Honda Motor Co. in June. The company, which is forecasting a sixth straight annual deficit this year, is withdrawing from the television-panel business, eliminating 9,800 jobs and closing down nine factories to focus more on car electronics to restore its profitability.

Pioneer fell 0.9 percent to close at 226 yen in Tokyo trading before the announcement today. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average slid 1.3 percent.

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Google details Maps Navigation for Android, iPhone [video]

Electronista: Google today provided added details of the turn-by-turn mapping service found on the Motorola Droid.

Google Maps for AndroidGoogle Maps Navigation adds many of the features that would normally exist in a dedicated GPS unit, such as a bird’s-eye view and spoken directions, but takes advantage of Google’s existing Maps features.

Traffic is free in those areas where Google provides service, and Street View can show directions overlaid on top of in-location photos.

Search is naturally rolled into Navigation and lets drivers use voice or typed commands to navigate to a location by search criteria rather than a specific address.

Long-distance travelers can launch a search in mid-drive and find just the points of interest close to the already planned route.

Google Maps Navigation ships first on the Droid as a beta but will be available for all Android 2.0 devices.

The company also says it’s cooperating with Apple to bring the feature to the iPhone through its built-in Maps tool but hasn’t given a timetable for when it expects the feature to be ready.

The unveiling is a potential coup for Google. Although RIM’s BlackBerry line and most GPS-aware Nokia phones include company-made turn-by-turn apps, these either have limited functionality or require a paid subscription to work properly.

Google Maps requires an active Internet connection to download map data but is otherwise free to use where most stand-alone apps, including for the iPhone, often carry a significant initial fee and often charge extra for future map updates.

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BMW and Mercedes to have Intel Atom-based infotainment systems in 2012

Engadget: Intel just announced that both BMW and Mercedes-Benz will be shipping Atom-based infotainment systems designed by Harman-Becker in 2012.

BMW will make the system available in the 7-series, while MB will put it in S- and C-class vehicles.

According to Paul Otellini, these are just the first Atom-based in-vehicle entertainment systems to be announced, and automakers are coming around to “consistent and persistent platforms,” so we’d expect this is the start of a very welcome trend. Sadly there was no demo, but we’ll be on the lookout here at IDF.

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New car stereos from Sony

iPodNN: Sony on Tuesday announced the upcoming release of four new Xplod in-dash CD Receivers.

All four new head units are compatible with the Radio Data System (RDS) technology, allowing compatible FM radio stations to send artist and song information, which is then displayed on the head unit’s display.

The two higher-end models are the CDX-GT640UI and the CDX-GT540UI receivers, both of which have a USB input and auxiliary input on their front face which allows users to fully integrate and charge connected compatible iPods and iPhones as well as portable audio players.

Sony Xplod receivers

The two also have the same compressed sound quality improvement technology built-in, as well as MP3 and WMA file support, with navigation options that make large libraries easy to navigate.

The main difference between the two is the CDX-GT640UI’s option of both green and blue key illumination as well as three preamp subwoofer outputs, while the CDX-GT540UI only has blue LEDs and two preamp outputs.

The USB connection can be used to charge compatible iPods and iPhones.

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Alpine’s Black Box Module Adds High-Performance GPS Navigation to their car stereos

NaviGadget: Check out Alpine’s newest GPS navigation product: the NVE-M300 GPS navigation drive.

This is a compact, hideaway module that adds premium navigation features such as the OnPoint Advanced GPS Positioning (which combines three vehicle positioning technologies), turn-by-turn, voice guided directions – to two of Alpine’s audio/video head units, the iXA-W404 and IVA-W505.

Alpine Black Box Solution

NVE-M300 GPS Navigation Drive is available for $450 (€319), the iXA-W404 for $550 (€390) SRI, and the IVA-W505 for $1,100 (€781).


 TORRANCE, Calif., July 14, 2009 – Alpine Electronics of America, Inc., the industry-leading manufacturer of audio and navigation solutions, today introduced the new NVE-M300 GPS Navigation Drive.

This high-performance black box navigation module makes it easy to add turn-by-turn navigation functionality to Alpine’s iXA-W404 and IVA-W505 Audio/Video (AV) head units. Adding the NVE-M300 to these products results in two unique Audio/Video/Navigation (AVN) solutions.

Consumers can have a $1,000 digital media solution combining the NVE-M300 and the iXA-W404 with its 4.3-inch touch screen that is optimized for iPod/iPhone playback. Alternatively, they can create a $1,550 premium system based on the IVA-W505 with its 7-inch touch screen and DVD capability.

The NVE-M300 is a compact, external navigation drive. Measuring only 4 3/8 in. x 4 1/8 in. x 1 in., it is designed to be professionally installed and mounted in a hide-away location, such as behind the dash. Once connected, the NVE-M300 adds a fully integrated navigation experience to Alpine’s two top selling AV head units.

The NVE-M300 features Alpine’s innovative OnPoint™ Advanced GPS Positioning to deliver a better navigation experience. OnPoint ensures that vehicle’s icon stays accurately positioned on the map, even in areas where it’s difficult to receive GPS reception, such as in a tunnel, around tall buildings or under heavy foliage. OnPoint simultaneously uses three technologies – satellite-linked GPS data, solid-state gyro sensor technology (to determine the vehicle’s direction) and accelerometer technology (to gauge the vehicle’s speed) – to deliver improved performance.

A simple and intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) combined with voice guided driving directions make the NVE-M300 easy to use. Big, bright icons and large buttons provide easy identification of commands or maneuvers.

Assistive mapping visuals display essential driving information such as One-Way Street icons for clear notification of one-way streets, and Highway Junction View for maneuvering complex interchanges.

Text-to-speech technology is used to announce the turn-by-turn driving instructions, including street names, freeway numbers and freeway exit names. All the voice guided driving instructions are delivered through the vehicle’s sound system.

The NVE-M300’s map data is provided from preloaded NAVTEQ® maps of the United States and Canada, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. As well, the module comes with 6 million unique Points of Interest (POIs), which include restaurants, hotels, gas stations, movie theaters and grocery stores.

The NVE-M300 can be customized to match the user’s preference. Color schemes can be chosen from a palette of four map colors and eight menu colors. English, Spanish or French can be chosen as the preferred language.

The Dashboard feature can be set up to display trip information such as driving time and average speed. “With the NVE-M300, we are delivering an improved GPS navigation experience at a lower cost,” said Stephen Witt, vice president, marketing, Alpine Electronics. “The NVE-M300 drive gives customers the opportunity to easily add GPS navigation to their iXA-W404 of IVA-W505 AV head units.”

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