By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
One of the first car stereo head units that can record from the radio, CD or XM Satellite Radio on to removable flash memory will be available from Dual in July.
Dual is introducing a new XDMR7710 CD receiver that combines with a $99 adapter to allow users to plug in a USB flash drive and record from the head unit. It can record whatever the head unit is playing (tuner, CD, auxiliary). As the Dual CD receiver is XM ready, it can also record XM satellite radio programming when used with an XM tuner, Dual said.
However, the new XDMR7710 CD receiver will not tag individual songs with titles. It simply records whatever the user is listening to on the flash drive as a WMA file. The user presses a record button on the adapter to start and stop recording. The resulting WMA file can then be transferred to a computer or other device.
The XDMR7710 also does not have a memory buffer, so if a user begins recording in the middle of a song, it does not record the full song.
The XDMR7710 is also one of the first industry PlaysForSure head units. When combined with the EAUSB20 adapter, it plays back legally downloaded music purchased from PlaysForSure Web sites such as Napster, MSN Music and Wal-Mart downloads and certain other music services. Just as iPod adapters can stream music from an iPod and control the iPod from the radio, the XDMR7710 can stream music from many PlaysForSure MP3 players and flash drives and can control the MP3 player. The head unit can also emulate the MP3 player's search functions on its display.
PlaysForSure is Microsoft's certification logo that lets consumers know that certain MP3 players will work seamlessly with certain download services. Most newer MP3 devices that are not iPods are PlaysForSure MP3 players.
Dual said research shows that over 60 percent of portable media player owners want to use their devices in the car.
The XDMR7710 has a two-step detachable face that conceals its LCD display. It is expected to ship in July at a $249.99 suggested retail price. It will be joined by two other Dual PlaysForSure head units at lower price points later this year.
Alpine is also expected to be among the first with PlaysForSure capability. The company plans to ship the KCA-620M adapter this month, which will give its CD receivers both PlaysForSure and USB capability at a suggested retail price of $149.95.
When the adapter is used with a USB drive, the adapter lets Ai-Net Alpine head units charge the devices and perform file and folder searches through the songs on the player via the radio. “You can put any CD that you've ever owned onto a hard drive and that becomes the CD changer for the car,” said Scott Neill, Alpine product education and training manager.
For the newer PlaysForSure MP3 players, the adapter also allows advanced searches through genre, playlist and album. The adapter allows Alpine radios to fully control a PlaysForSure MP3 player and to offer rudimentary controls on the flash drive such as track up/down, folder up/down and volume, Alpine said.
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