By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
At CES this month, XM and Sirius both announced plans toward making their systems compatible with all car stereo hardware.
Both companies are sharpening efforts to produce converters to allow their services to work their rival's equipment. XM announced Terk will produce an adapter to enable Kenwood Sirius-ready head units to work with XM service and Sirius said Soundgate is producing adapters to enable XM-ready GM radios and Toyota radios to receive Sirius service.
Alpine is also taking a giant step toward true interoperable equipment with its new 2004 head unit line which will work with tuners for either service. The Alpine line will be compatible with a Sirius tuner to be sold this summer, as well as new XM Direct tuners. The Sirius tuner will not carry the Alpine brand name. For several years, Alpine aftermarket products worked with XM exclusively.
"Interoperability is definitely the future. Now our customers have a choice," said Alpine product promotion manager Todd Van Zandt.
Pioneer, a leading XM hardware supplier said it had no plans to offer interoperable products this year, however, many industry members consider it the wave of the future. Mike Townsen, Pioneer mobile electronics marketing VP, said, "Nothing is imminent. But we're looking at all technologies, including Sirius. When the market is ready we are positioned to do something." He added, "We see a Sirius momentum."
XM said that full interoperability is at least two years in the offing so that XM will retain its current hardware advantage. "Our receivers are still one to two years ahead and our antennas are 50 percent smaller. We don't think we will give up that technology lead for another one to two years," said XM senior VP marketing and distribution Dan Murphy.
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.