San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
Blaupunkt is joining Alpine and Clarion in shipping some of the first car stereo head units that forgo the CD player and use other forms of media storage instead.
Blaupunkt's new Melbourne SD27 offers an SD/MMC card slot and a front-panel auxiliary input for use with portable players. It works with optional iPod and Bluetooth/USB modules to directly control an iPod or a music-enabled cellphone.
"For more and more people, compact discs have become obsolete," said Blaupunkt GM Lutz Marschall. "They buy their music from the Internet, download it to their hard-drive music server and take it with them on their iPod. The last holdout for many of these consumers is their car radio, which still requires them to burn CD-Rs."
The Melbourne also has an AM/FM receiver and its front panel can display up to 127 directories of music with ID3 tag information. It can work with an optional navigation system and is now shipping at a suggested retail of $159.
Several additional suppliers say they may offer "mechless" head units (without a CD mechanism) including Audiovox, Dual and Eclipse (see TWICE, Sept. 24, p. 52).
Alpine was first to offer a mechless head unit this spring with the IDA-X001 ($399), followed by Clarion, which is just shipping the FB275BT ($199).