San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Manufacturer's Association, held its 37th annual show last week, and was expecting over 100,000 attendees at its largest event to date.
SEMA said the mobile electronics section of the show was more than twice as large as last year.
Sony used the occasion to announce an exclusive joint marketing effort with performance part supplier APC. The two companies will co-sponsor events and joint promotions. Sony Mobile Electronics general manager Bill Lee said the companies collaborated on 13 show vehicles for SEMA and they expect to announce joint events in the near future.
Many of the new CE products unveiled in Las Vegas last week fell in the mobile video category, including one of the first headrest monitors with built-in DVD.
Audiovox showed a system that includes two custom headrests with embedded 7-inch screens — one with a built-in DVD player. The headrests are designed to match the car interior for most General Motors and Lexus SUVs, as well as nearly all Toyota vehicles, said the company. Ford and Lincoln versions are expected to follow in December with models for additional car makes expected in January. Called the HRDV700, the system includes a built-in FM modulator for playing audio through the car's audio system and an IR transmitter. It also has dual-source capability. Shipping is expected in January at an estimated price of $1,799. Other suppliers are expected to unveil headrest monitors with built-in DVD players at CES in January.
Pioneer took the wraps off its latest in-car mobile video and navigation system, the AVIC-N1. It is the first unit to allow users to perform navigation functions at the same time as listening to audio in the front seat and playing a DVD in the rear seat, said Pioneer. It also provides information on vehicle dynamics such as speed, acceleration and lateral G-Force. The AVIC-N1 offers touch-panel or voice-command control and has MP3 and XM capability. It uses a 6.5-inch LCD monitor that offers a "driver's view mode" or 3D map view. Shipping is expected in March.
VizuaLogic debuted here one of the first 9-inch headrest monitors, claiming the unit is the brightest to date. Also new from the company is a "HindSight BackUp" monitor system. The unit includes a camera that attaches to the bumper of an SUV and an in-car monitor to provide a rear view when backing up.
Directed showed an 8-inch overhead monitor with a small footprint called the OHV800 at a suggested price of $799.
In the auto security category, Code Systems showed its first products since its acquisition by Audiovox last May. These are also the first security products to borrow the custom ring-tone concept from the cellular market, allowing users to replace confirmation chirps with ring tones of music. The three new systems also have a "Progressive Car Find" feature, where the car horn sounds progressively louder as the owner gets closer to his car.
Two of the new units are two-way remote start systems with the step-up model CA640 offering an LED display for command confirmation. The CA640 also has a selectable rear window defrost output and memory seat position selector (from the transmitter). These features are also available on a new two-way security system called the CA140. All three systems have a 1,000-foot range with suggested retail prices of $399 for the CA140 and CA540 (basic 2-way remote start) and $499 for the CA640.