By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Osaka, Japan-Matsushita Communication Co. announced it will ship the world's first car audio AM/FM/CD MP3 head to use SD Memory Cards on Dec. 15, to be followed by a U.S. debut this spring.
The U.S. unit will be called the CQSRX-7000U under the Panasonic brand and will be displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Estimated retail price will be $1,299, said a Panasonic spokeswoman.
The CQSRX-7000U features a built-in SD flash memory player, which is compatible with MP3 and AAC (Audio Advanced Coding). SD is able to play back without skipping as it does not have a drive mechanism.
The DIN-sized AM/FM/CD/SD will have a built-in 45-watt x 4 MOSFET amplifier and a new four-shade 3-D dot-matrix graphics display that changes with the beat of the music.
A second model, the MRX7000, with both CD and MD playback, will debut in Japan on Nov. 20 but will not ship to the United States, said the spokeswoman.
The SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card was jointly developed by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., SanDisk Corp., and Toshiba Corp. It is a postage-stamp-sized flash memory card that competes with other flash memory formats such as Sony Memory Stick, MultiMedia Card (MMC) and CompactFlash.
Currently, the only other flash memory MP3 car audio device on the market is an eight-disc changer from Rockford Fosgate, called the RFXMP3.8, which uses MMC flash memory.
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