San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
HD Radio is no longer just for music. At International CES, the technology officially becomes a data-delivery service for traffic reports, as will be offered on several market-ready GPS devices here.
JVC, Nextar and Cydle are shipping, or will ship this year, products with the new service that delivers faster and more comprehensive traffic reports, even on some side roads, according to HD Radio developer iBiquity.
Internet Radio streamed from an iPhone may be the next key feature to sweep car audio, according to several suppliers showing the technology here.
Streaming Pandora and other apps from an iPhone provide a free pipeline into Internet radio and its endless supply of radio channels, thus removing the need for recurring monthly fees for a wireless connection (provided the user already owns an iPhone with a data plan).
The first market-ready products for ATSC Mobile DTV— the new live-TV service for portables — will ship this spring, launching a technology that could turn free TV into a commonplace feature in portables, handhelds and car electronics, according to the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), which promotes the technology.
Mobile DTV differs from current ATSC TV broadcasts because it works well even in motion, so it can be used by pedestrians or by passengers in the car.
Clarion turned over almost all of its aftermarket automotive SKUs at International CES, where the company expanded its selection of HD Radio-ready head units to seven from one, launched its first iTunes-tagging models, and expanded its selection of heads with built-in Bluetooth for hands-free use and stereo streaming.
The company also introduced a new graphical user interface (GUI) on touchscreen models.
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.
The lineup also includes the company's first two iPod-controller receivers, or “mechless” receivers lacking CD or DVD transports.
TomTom launched a trade-in program in November that lets consumers send in any brand of portable navigation device (PND) for a cash return, if they purchase a TomTom PND.
The program is designed to increase PND sales on TomTom.com by giving consumers the trade-in incentive and also to “do our part to be more environmentally conscious,” said the company.
Car electronics continues to link more closely to the iPhone with new apps and hardware.
Directed is expanding its Viper SmartStart app and module to more dealers beyond Best Buy and a new Car Finder app is now available from Intridea.