By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Navigation is playing a greater role in car audio this year as nearly every leading car stereo vendor now offers a navigation/video head unit at the head of its lineup.
Showing A/V navigation for the first time this year are Dual, JVC and Panasonic, while Kenwood is offering its first all-in-one navigation/video unit.
In addition, Alpine and Eclipse are showing docking A/V head units that allow a portable GPS to slip directly into a slot in the head unit, representing a new advancement in navigation (see story p. 148 ).
Suppliers say the tripling in sales last year of portable GPS is helping shine some of the spotlight on the in-dash navigation category.
Industry forecasts for the segment vary for 2007, ranging from modest gains to an increase of 17 percent to 19 percent.
For 2006, industry growth estimates ranged from single digit to 16 percent growth.
Among the new category entrants, Dual is offering a double-DIN in-dash navigation/DVD/monitor called the XDVDN8290 with XM Satellite Radio, integrated Bluetooth and iPod control. The unit ships with an SD card with preloaded U.S. maps, and it has 2 million points of interest (POI), a 6.5-inch touch screen and is expected to ship in the first quarter at a suggested retail of $1,119. A sister product without navigation, called the XDVD8285, ships in January at $799.
JVC's first in-dash navigation solution, called the KD-NX5000, is a single-DIN DVD receiver with a built-in 3.5-inch monitor and a 40GB hard drive. The drive is partitioned for 15GB of map navigation and 25GB for music. On the navigation side it has built-in real-time traffic with a traffic button on the remote control for updates. It comes with preloaded maps of North America and the U.S. Virgin Islands as well as 13 million POI. Users can navigate and play music at the same time. The unit can play back DVD or DiVX movies, JPEG photos or MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 video files. It can also rip CDs at high speed, and has Bluetooth and iPod capability with optional adapters. Shipping is expected in March at $1,199 suggested retail.
Kenwood's first in-dash navigation/DVD/monitor all-in-one model, the DNX1700, requires no black box and has a 6.95-inch screen. It is expected to ship in April at a suggested $1,600.
Panasonic is showing the double-DIN Strada CN-NVD905U, which it first unveiled at the SEMA show in November. It has a 30GB hard drive and DVD playback, Sirius traffic, Bluetoooth and iPod capability and will ship this spring at a price to be announced.
Claiming a market share of more than 60 percent in in-dash navigation, Pioneer is announcing a $1,100 estimated street price for the AVIC-D3, which debuted at the SEMA show.
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