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Kenwood Marks 30th Year In Car With 56 SKUs

1/14/2010 11:47:48 AM Eastern

Las Vegas - Kenwood marked its 30th year in the car
electronics aftermarket with a 56-SKU launch that includes its first two in-dash
multimedia/navigation units with free lifetime Navteq Live Traffic
service.

kenwood ExcelonThe lineup also includes the company's first two
iPod-controller receivers, or "mechless" receivers lacking CD or DVD
transports.

The 56 products don't include an installed Mobile DTV
tuner, which was demonstrated at last year's International CES but won't be
launched this year because, at an expected price of about $400, dealers said it
would not generate much volume, said senior VP Keith Lehmann, who blamed the
high cost of Mobile DTV chips.

Seven of the 56 new products are in-dash DVD-equipped
navigation/multimedia head units, a category that the company said is growing in
dollars despite overall industry contraction. They're priced from a suggested
$1,150 to $2,000. Four other DVD-equipped multimedia head units priced from $700
to $1,100 connect to an optional $600 hideaway Garmin navigation
module.

The top-end navigation/multimedia head unit is the
Excelon-series $2,000-suggested DNX9960, a double-DIN unit that offers Garmin
navigation technology with lane assist, junction view, and 3D images of
buildings and landmarks, many of which are photo-realistic. It also features
Kenwood's second-generation voice-control system, which delivers improved
accuracy and faster response when controlling navigation and A/V functions as
well as the functions and content of connected devices such as iPods and USB
drives. The DNX9960 also features a front-panel touchscreen that lets users
browse album art by swiping their finger across the display.kenwood

The DNX9960 and a non-Echelon double-DIN
navigation/multimedia head unit, the $1,700-suggested DNX7160, are the
aftermarket's first in-dash navigation units offering free lifetime Navteq Live
Traffic service, which delivers traffic information via FM sideband, Kenwood
said. The free service is ad-supported and has been offered in select Garmin
PNDs, Kenwood noted.

In iPod-controller receivers, the company launched the
$500-suggested KIV-BT900 and $450-suggested KIV-700. Both feature 3-inch color
display to show iPod- and iPhone-stored stored videos, which also appear on
optional connected rear-seat monitors. Both play back audio and video stored on
connected USB drives and USB-connected MP3 players, both feature 1GB of embedded
flash memory to store content transferred through its USB input, and both are
satellite radio- and HD Radio-ready. The $500 model adds built-in Bluetooth for
hands-free dialing. The $450 model is compatible with a $180 hideaway Bluetooth
module.

The new $240-suggested KDC-HD545U CD-receiver features
built-in HD Radio with iTunes tagging and front-panel USB input to control iPods
and iPhones and access the content of other USB-connected devices. It replaces a
higher-priced HD Radio receiver and is satellite-radio-ready.

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