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Kenwood Readies Lower Priced Car-Nav Alternative

10/06/2011 03:13:26 PM Eastern

Long Beach, Calif. - Kenwood next
year will launch its first A/V-multimedia head units that integrate with a
navigation app on an iPhone, giving cost-conscious consumers a lower cost
alternative to in-dash navigation units that start at a minimum of $700 in the
market, said senior VP Keith Lehmann.

Kenwood will team with Garmin to
develop head-unit compatibility with Garmin's iPhone navigation app, Lehmann told
TWICE.

In-dash navigation sales have
fallen this year because of the economy and because of navigation apps for
smartphones, he said.

CEA statistics show that factory-level sales of in-dash navigation systems (excluding navigation-ready A/V-multimedia head units) fell 2.4 percent to 115,241 units from January through August. Navigation-ready A/V-multimedia head units rose 55.7 percent to 246,120 during that time.

Kenwood's new A/V head units will
be especially useful for 12-volt specialists who don't want a potential
navigation customer to walk because of price and don't stock portable
navigation devices (PNDs) to sell to that customer, Lehmann said.

Kenwood will follow JVC and
Pioneer into the market with head units that integrate with smartphone nav
apps.

At International CES, Full
Power launched
an upgraded Motion X cloud-based iPhone navigation app to
display maps and turn-by-turn driving instructions with voice prompts on JVC's
large-screen A/V units while a vehicle is in motion. The app carries a $20/year
subscription.

The Motion X app automatically
recognizes JVC head units and reformats maps and other information for display
on the larger JVC screens.  The app works
with JVC A/V head units starting at around $449.

Also this year, Pioneer launched
its AppRadio
, a double-DIN
AM/FM RDS head unit whose capacitive touchscreen can be used to control
and display selected iPhone/iPod Touch apps, including Pandora Radio and a Cloud-based
navigation service.

The $399-everyday AppRadio is
promoted as the
first car entertainment system -- OEM or aftermarket -- to use the iPhone as
its primary source of content.

AppRadio comes with an external GPS
antenna whose embedded GPS receiver overrides the iPhone's GPS receiver to
deliver more accurate location information. The antenna also turns the iPod
Touch into a navigation device.

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