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At what was expected to be the largest SEMA show to date, held here last week, several 12-volt vendors unveiled fourth-quarter products or previewed sections of their 2005 lineups.
Among the show highlights in car A/V was a new version of the Pioneer AVIC-N1, considered the most popular in-dash navigation system this year, and a new custom headrest line from Directed.
Kenwood also took the wraps off its latest Sirius plug-and-play system and Rosen debuted a new value car-video line to replace its Necvox series.
Pioneer's new AVIC-N2 is the first aftermarket navigation system to offer satellite-based traffic updates through XM NavTraffic. The unit displays traffic incidents and road flow conditions on a 6.5-inch motorized touch screen monitor and graphically displays traffic incidents through icons on a map. The system also suggests alternate routes.
Drivers can touch the screen to display a detailed traffic events list sorted by type or by distance from the driver. The unit also displays traffic flow by different colors: green indicates traffic moving 40 mph and above, yellow from 20 mph to 40 mph and red at less than 20 mph. Additional icons represent scheduled incidents such as road construction and road closures.
The AVIC-N2 can interface with an optional GEX-P10XMT data and audio receiver to receive the XM NavTraffic service. Users must also subscribe to XM premium service for $13.99 a month, which includes standard XM service.
The AVIC-N2 is a DIN-sized DVD/CD/MP3 player with route guidance for the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, and Canada. It has 7.5MB of flash memory to store maps so that users can play a DVD or CD while navigating. Users also can store a frequently used path within a “home area,” that shows traffic information and points of interest without inserting the map disc. The system offers 12 million points of interest.
The dual-zone unit also has a mode of vehicle dynamics performance gauges, which may now be viewed with a choice of four different skins. The AVIC-N2 can interface with a rear-view “back up” camera and it has outputs for XM satellite radio, CD changer, DVD changer and TV tuner. Pricing will be announced in January.
Other new Pioneer products include the company's first stand-alone vehicle dynamics gauge box, a new competition subwoofer and a digital amplifier.
Kenwood showed a new HD-radio-ready EZ500 that returns to the tradition of large, dual-volume and control knobs. The CD receiver has Sirius, MP3, WMA and WAV, as well as HD radio capability. It offers a “negative dot-matrix color LCD display” and a new cellphone mute circuit, when used with a cellphone cradle. The EZ500 also features dual-zone control that allows front and rear speakers to play different audio sources simultaneously, such as an NFL game on Sirius Radio and a personal CD. The EZ500 is shipping now at a suggested retail price of $250.
Kenwood's newest Sirius plug-and-play receiver is the Here2Everywhere H-2EV, which now offers a built-in FM transmitter and a larger, six-line LCD display. It also has improved searching controls and a “jump” button to notify users when a favorite tune is playing on another station. It is bundled with home and car kits at a suggested retail price of $199.95, or sold separately at $149.95, plus $49.95 each for the car and home kits.
Also new from Kenwood is a 6.5-inch wide-format flush-mount color monitor, model LZ-6500W, at $500.
Rosen announced at SEMA that it is phasing out its lower priced Necvox line and replacing it with a value line, named Car Show, that offers improved features at lower prices. The first Car Show product is a 7-inch all-in-one overhead monitor with DVD player and MP3 capability at $799. Rosen said all Car Show products use new components rather than recycled components used by some value brands. Another new Car Show product is a 10.4-inch overhead, without DVD, at $899. Under the Rosen brand, the company showed a new M10 10.2-inch monitor identical to the current A10 but without DVD and video games. The overhead monitor has dual-zone capability and can control two screen zones, plus remote activated screen opening and dome light control, at $1,299.
As part of its newly announced car safety and security push, Audiovox introduced its first “ultrasonic” backup sensor system.
The new system does not use a camera but relies on two sensors, each about the size of a quarter, which mount on the vehicle's rear bumper. The system is activated as soon as the vehicle is put in reverse, and it automatically sends out a signal that bounces off any objects within the range of 6 inches to 6 feet in three zones. It then triggers an alert tone that increases in frequency as the vehicle gets closer to the object. The product is currently available and carries a suggested list price of $600.
Directed Electronics launched a new custom headrest program to fit 150 vehicles with more than 500 color combinations in cloth, vinyl and leather. Each headrest comes with an embedded 7-inch monitor with dual wireless headphone transmitters and wired headphone jack.
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.