By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Suppliers are starting to add video touchscreens to their OEM integration offerings giving consumers an easy way to control all their devices, such as iPods and satellite radio, as they are added to their car stereo system.
Some of the first "OEM integration" monitors began shipping last month from Alpine and Kenwood, which essentially separate the monitor from the head unit and are seen as the first of a new breed.
Other suppliers, such as Clarion, said that video screens for integration will be the wave of the future. Marketing VP Adam Thomas notes, "It's a fairly natural HMI [human machine interface] for OEM integration."
But Panasonic said it is also investigating other HMI devices for integration. Director of mobile entertainment Rob Lopez said of video screens, "We don't think it's the only way. We're looking at all possibilities."
Alpine's new TME-M740 is a double-DIN 7-inch monitor that offers both touchscreen and stereo Bluetooth. It can connect to the VHub Pro integration device to control the VHub and all devices connected to it, such as an iPod, navigation and HD Radio. Users can also wirelessly connect their cellular phone to the monitor to see caller ID, missed and received calls and other data. They may also dial via the screen, rather than the phone.
The monitor uses one wiring harness and does not require a separate black box. It began shipping in March at a suggested-$450.
Kenwood's version is the 7-inch KOS-L702 touchscreen monitor that may be used with its KOS-V-1000 or V-500 CarPortal integration devices. The monitor controls all devices added to the car, such as an iPod, satellite radio, navigation and DVD player. For an iPod, the screen can display album art and four lines of text such as song title, album, artist and play-list. It began shipping in March at $500.
A smaller, 4.3-inch version of the L702 touchscreen monitor is planned for June, which may also be used as a controller. Called the KOS-L432, it is expected to carry a suggested retail of $340.
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