By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
The car navigation market is still relatively small, but it's growing at a fast clip and continues to entice new entrants.
According to the Consumer Electronic Association's (CEA) year-to-date sales for aftermarket navigation products through October, the market reached $32.8 million, marking a 33 percent increase over the same period in 2002. For the month of October, sales increased 145 percent to $4.7 million.
Suppliers entering navigation here include Cobra, Royal and Sanyo, and several others will offer upgrade models, including Eclipse, Garmin, Magellan and Pioneer.
From Royal is the Amerigo, an in-car navigation system that plugs into the cigarette lighter. It has a separate 3.5-inch monitor module that has an SD slot. It can affix to the windshield or dash and then attaches to a GPS module. It offers turn-by-turn directions, rerouting and voice directions. The Amerigo comes with a set of CDs for the entire United States and it also has built-in 128MB RAM for storing sections of the United States. It is expected to ship in the first quarter at a price between $599 and $699.
Both Cobra (see TWICE, Dec. 22, p. 74) and Magellan are offering the first units of their kind to include built-in street level maps of the entire U.S. and parts of Canada. Magellan's RoadMate 700 offers 2 million points of interest such as restaurants, parks and gas stations. It displays text directions and graphics on a moving map and voice prompt turn-by-turn directions. The unit has a 2.25-by-3-inch color touch screen and is designed to plug into a cigarette lighter. It has a suggested retail price of $1,299. Cobra's SKYNAV 3000 has a 5.2-inch screen, adds dead reckoning and allows users of Palm or Pocket PC to input data via IR. It will carry an estimated price of $1,499.
Magellan is also offering a step-down RoadMate 500 with Compact Flash memory for uploading maps (it does not have built-in maps) at a suggested retail of $999.
Sanyo is showing a combination navigation/DVD system that is portable. The unit serves as both a DVD player and a turn-by-turn, GPS-based navigation system. It is designed for travelers who can watch DVDs on the plane or in the hotel and then use the navigation function in their rental car. It can also be shuttled from car to car or from the home to the car. The unit has a 7-inch screen, and an accessory battery pack. It also has an outlet for a second monitor or a sound processor. Estimated price is $1,799.
Among those updating their in-dash navigation lines are Blaupunkt, Eclipse and Pioneer.
Eclipse is including Memory Stick on a double DIN in-dash DVD/navigation combination with a 6.5-inch monitor. The Memory Stick allows users to upload customized wallpaper backgrounds. The Sirius ready unit is expected to ship in February at an estimated price of $2,999.
From Blaupunkt is its latest TravelPilot DX-V—a GPS, turn-by-turn system with dead reckoning. It has a 7-inch color video screen for map-based directions as well as voice directions. It offers re-routing and numerous route selection options such as "fastest/shortest route," and "avoid interstate/tolls/ferries." The system can be used with a DVD player, TV tuner or rear-vision camera, as well as an optional Thummer steering wheel remote.
Pioneer is showing here the AVIC-N1 DVD/navigation system that also monitors car functions at a suggested retail price of $2,200 (see Car A/V story, p.120).
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.