By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
LAS VEGAS -Telematics and navigation continue to attract new entrants, with Audiovox and DEI unveiling their first products at CES.
Audiovox entered the navigation and telematics markets here with a full line of CD-ROM based in-dash units and an automatic car location system.
DEI also showed a new car location system under the Clifford brand (which had been dabbling in telematics before it was purchased by DEI last year).
In addition, several suppliers took the wraps off their first DVD-based navigation units (see TWICE, Jan. 6, p. 86), with Kenwood unveiling a DVD-ROM-only unit with a touch screen and Pioneer showing a combination DVD-ROM/DVD-Video unit.
Panasonic displayed a prototype DVD nav model with voice prompts and map display. The in-dash unit (without a screen) uses NavTech technology and operates with a choice of four Panasonic monitors. The prototype did not play back DVD-Video. The company is targeting summer delivery at a price to be announced.
DVD navigation leader Alpine showed several advancements, including a unit that accepts Memory Stick so users can download point-of-interest information from a PC at home. Also shown was a navigation system that has an input for a Palm handheld, so users can hotsync addresses from their Palm into their navigation unit.
In addition, Alpine demonstrated live traffic updates and rerouting using a Cue module that plugs into the system to display traffic and accident reports occurring in the user's driving routes. The updates are shown in the form of an icon on a map, and the system then suggests alternate routes.
The Cue paging module is expected to be available for Alpine systems this year.
Audiovox plans to deliver during the first quarter five navigation packages using VDO technology and capped by a top-of-the-line NAV 6000 with a 7-inch motorized screen.
The NAV 6000 delivers turn-by-turn directions with voice prompts and offers several map display methods, with a focus on ease of use. Estimated retail price is $2,800. An optional turner pack will be available with 4 x 45-watt power and four-channel output.
Also new from Audiovox is a NAV 5000 with a 5.8-inch screen, available in black cosmetics, and a NAV 4000 unit that doubles as a CD receiver.
The NAV 4000 is a DIN unit with built-in 2 7/8 x 1 1/2-inch screen. It does not offer map displays but gives text cues and voice prompts and has CD changer controls. It can also give voice prompts while music is playing, delivering speech through the front speakers and music through rear. Estimated retail price for the 4000 is $1,899.
The leader in-dash Audiovox unit is the NAV 3000 ($1,799), which has a separate 3 x 1.5-inch screen that can mount anywhere in the vehicle. This is joined by a "navigation in a bag" transportable model (without screen) that plugs into a cigarette lighter. It features voice recognition, as well as voice prompts, for under $1,000.
Audiovox is also working with Satronics to deliver an automated vehicle tracking system to be available in March or April at $699 to $799.
DEI showed an automatic car-location system that pages, e-mails and phones the car owner in the event of a car theft. The basic system, called Car Com 1, includes a receiver/pager with a suggested retail price of $199 to $249, and the step-up system adds GPS and telematics features at $599.
Called the Car Com 2, the step-up system allows users to preset a prescribed area out of which the car should not travel or the user will be paged. Shipping and other specifics were not yet available.
Also at CES, both Blaupunkt and Visteon showed new versions of their CD-ROM-based navigation units.
Blaupunkt's new DX R70 has a faster processor and now offers improved point-of-interest capability. The new unit includes a 45 x 4-watt CD receiver with DigiCeiver technology and will ship in April at a suggested retail price of $1,800.
Visteon's second-generation NavMate will be available in both in-dash and portable versions (for carrying from car to car). The new system uses a larger, 3.6-inch screen and now provides information such as estimated time of arrival, shortest-distance routing option, ability to select a route that avoids toll roads and ability to "lay breadcrumbs" to retrace one's route on a return trip.
Visteon's NavMate also has improved ease-of-use features such as larger, backlit buttons and a front speaker. It will be available in April at a suggested retail price of $1,799.
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