Long Beach, Calif.
- Kenwood claimed it will be the first aftermarket autosound supplier to offer
head units that connect to a new OEM-integration module that lowers the cost of
integrating with factory Sync systems in Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles and
delivers a cleaner install.
"We are able to
achieve this seamless factory integration in a more easily installed and
affordable manner than with other solutions available today," said Kenwood
senior VP Keith Lehmann.
With the head
units, aftermarket installers will be able to replace factory head units in
Sync-equipped vehicles with a Kenwood multimedia/navigation system and retain Sync's
voice control over such factory features as outboard satellite-radio tuners,
Bluetooth hands-free, Bluetooth audio streaming, and connected media players
plugged into the factory's USB connection.
The install will
also retain control of OEM features via the factory's steering-wheel-mounted controls
and enable the Kenwood heads to display metadata from MP3 players connected to
the factory USB port.
In addition, drivers
will be able to use Sync's voice control to control the Kenwood head's source
switching, and drivers will be able to control Kenwood head-unit functions from
the factory steering-wheel controls.
launch five Sync-compatible multimedia/navigation systems at January's International
Those heads incorporate
software to talk to an optional iDatalink Maestro module made by Automotive
Data Solutions (ADS). The module is expected to ship in March at a price that
wasn't announced. The module plugs into the Kenwood heads' SiriusXM port, which
normally connects to a universal SiriusXM satellite-radio tuner.
The ADS module
will be less expensive than aftermarket Sync-integration kits that cost around
$250, require the installation of a separate but included LCD display, and require
users to keep the head unit in aux-input mode to get audio alerts of incoming
cellphone calls, Kenwood said.
Because of these
kits' drawbacks, said Lehmann, many dealers avoided selling them and just added
amps and speakers to the OEM sound systems in Sync-equipped cars.
Besides an ADS
module, an installation also requires a vehicle-specific T harness.
One Maestro module
works with multiple vehicles, thanks to its ability to download
vehicle-specific firmware via the web. The firmware allows the iDatalink module
to connect to a specific vehicle's data network and enable communication
between the Kenwood head unit and the vehicle's Sync module.
Solutions is a Montreal-based company that specializes in products that
integrate aftermarket remote starting systems and security systems with OEM
electronics in vehicles.
Kenwood will be
first to market with iDatalink compatibility in 2012, "giving Kenwood dealers
an advanced integration solution that is currently not available with any other
aftermarket brand," Lehmann said. The development "will set a new aftermarket
integration standard in the mobile electronics industry."
Sync has been
available since 2008 and has appeared in millions of vehicles since.