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Clarion Readies iPhone Controller, Telematics

5/07/2012 12:46:49 PM Eastern

New Orleans - Clarion is launching a transportable windshield-mounted
iPhone controller that uses a 7-inch WVGA touchscreen to control iPhone music
playback and select compatible iPhone apps.

The compatible apps, which
include two Internet radio apps and a navigation app, will also display their
user interface and graphics on the touchscreen.

Separately, theof Cypress, Calif-based company said it
would enter the telematics market with services for aftermarket in-dash head
units and OEM infotainment systems.

The iPhone controller is the
$269-suggested Next GATE, which plugs into a car's power port for power,
connects to an iPhone 4 or 4S via the phone's 30-pin connector, mounts on the
windshield of any vehicle, and plays back audio through an embedded speaker or
through any car stereo system with 3.5mm aux in jack. The device also charges
connected iPhones, doubles as a hands-free Bluetooth speakerphone, and enables
voice dialing and voice activation of iPhone features.

Next GATE, unveiled on the eve of the CTIA convention, will
be available June 1 at Crutchfield, Amazon and
other national retailers to be announced.

Next GATE requires the
installation of Clarion's Smart Access app manager on an iPhone. That app,
available as a free download in the iTunes store, manages iPhone communications
with Next GATE and enables compatible third-party iPhone-downloaded apps to be
displayed on, and controlled from, Next Gate. Compatible apps include the
TuneIn and Pandora Internet radio apps, INRIX Traffic, Odyssey turn-by-turn navigation
app, and Vlingo. Additional compatible apps are planned. Users would be
notified of new apps when they launch the Smart Access app manager, which would
also list all compatible apps available for download.

Vlingo is a voice-recognition app
with speech-to-text capabilities, enabling Next GATE to read aloud text
messages, emails, social-media feeds and news feeds. Vlingo also enables users
to make phone calls via speech recognition.

TuneIn accesses more than 50,000
Internet radio stations, including music, sports, news and current events such
as the Daytona 500. Pandora delivers customized music channels. And Odyssey provides
turn-by-turn navigation with full screen maps and graphics appearing on the
Next GATE display. INRIX Traffic delivers real time traffic information
displayed on maps.

Other Next GATE features include
microSD slot for software updates, built-in speaker and microphone, and
connection to an optional external microphone.

In detailing its telematics
plans, Clarion said it will launch its Smart Access Cloud Telematics Service in
June in North America and Japan and roll it out elsewhere in stages. The
service will work with new OEM infotainment systems and car-aftermarket
products.

The telematics service will
enable dashboard control of smartphone apps, enable emergency calling, and deliver
real-time information from a variety of sources, including FM RDS, satellite
radio, or HD Radio. For automakers and potentially for aftermarket products
that integrate with a vehicle's OEM databus, the services will also include
vehicle relational management system (VRMS) services for vehicle maintenance
and safety management, Clarion said.

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