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Radar detector sales are down slightly from last year, at about 1.7 million units, with sales expected to remain flat or up by a few percentage points in 2004, said suppliers.
A key focus next year will be to add detection of the newest POP guns, which are able to detect a driver's speed in only one-fifteenth of a second, faster than a standard radar detector can pick up the signal, suppliers said.
While still limited, POP gun use in the United States is climbing. Of the 125,000 radar guns in use today, about 1,000 to 1,500 are POP guns, according to Beltronics. The vast majority of the guns are K and KA band and about 20,000 to 25,000 are laser guns. X band is available only in a few states, according to Beltronics.
"We expect POP to increase and we see it as a real threat," said Gary Oppito, VP for Escort and Beltronics.
Nearly all suppliers said they will add POP detection to their lineups. Cobra plans to offer several models in 2004 and Beltronics and Escort, which offered POP capability last year, said they are upgrading their detection.
Rocky Mountain Radar will ship this year a unit with the fastest POP detection in the industry, the company claims. The new D-550 detector is able to complete detection of all bands in less than one-seven-hundredth of a second, claims president and CEO Michael Churchman. The unit improves over the current D-250, which completed scans in one-tenth of a second, he said. The D-550 is also the first bilingual radar detector, giving voice alerts in both English and Spanish. Suggested retail price for the D-550 is $299.95.
Whistler recently began shipping its first POP detection units — the 1783 and 1793SE. Both have all-band radar and laser detection, digital compass, voice alerts, 360 total perimeter coverage, VG-2 cloaking and improved KA-band sensitivity. The 1793SE adds a memo voice recorder and a battery-drain reducer. Estimated prices range from $200 to $250.
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.