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Alpine Readies Products, Promotions

Las Vegas – Products and promotions were the key themes for Alpine at International CES.

Alpine announced that is teaming up with hip-hop/dance-music group Far East Movement to promote a line of Bass Line subwoofers targeted to the youth market.

In product developments, the company said it will offer firmware upgrades in mid-summer to upgrade current A/V and A/V-navigation head units to offer app mode, which enables basic head-unit control of iPhone 4 and 4S music apps and viewing of music-app metadata. On large-screen A/V and navigation units, app mode also delivers basic control and viewing of video apps.

Only one A/V head unit currently offers app mode, said product promotion manager Steve Brown.

New single-DIN CD-receivers and Navigation units launched at the show also feature app mode.

Alpine hopes to have a solution in mid-summer, but definitely before the year is out, to enable app mode for connected iPhone 5 smartphones, whose Lightning connectors spit out digital video, whereas the current head units take in analog composite-video.

And Alpine will also make a running change to its current A/V and navigation units to add app mode, Brown said.

In other product developments, all new single-DIN head units but one will use hands-free Bluetooth to control the voice-control functions of Android and iPhone smartphones.

The company also expanded its selection of Perfect F.I.T. (Factory Integration Technology) install kits to fit about 30 vehicle models, up from 18 models. The kits are designed for use with Alpine’s INE-Z928HD in-dash navigation system with 8-inch screen.

The kits feature vehicle-specific wiring harnesses and installation accessories for direct plug-and-play connection to factory wiring and feature dash panels designed to match the shape, color and texture of a specific vehicle’s dash. They also let installers tune the system to different types of vehicles.

With the additions, Alpine is adding a mix of kits for newer and older vehicles, including kits for 2007 Nissans and 2004 Fords, because a good amount of Perfect F.I.T. kits are sold through 12-volt specialists who usually see older vehicles, Brown said.

Among Alpine’s promotional plans, the company said it collaborated with Far East Movement in developing the cosmetics and performance of Bass Line subs to make them relevant to the youth market.

“We’re working on strategies to co-promote the line,” Brown added.

The subs “pay homage to the power and energy” of Far East Movement’s music and are optimized for ported enclosures that accentuate bass response in the 30-60Hz range, where much of the bass energy is centered in rap, hip-hop and dance music, Brown said.

The subs are also affordable, with the 10-inch model priced at a minimum advertised price of two for $129 and the 12-inch subs priced at a minimum advertised at price of $149 for two. The 4-ohm subs can be run in parallel to boost an amp’s output. The subs can be packaged with an entry-level monoblock amp at $150.

In another promotion effort, the company will step up its promotion through social media with the hiring of a dedicated social-media staff.

The company has also launched a tablet-friendly web site scaled for viewing on tablets and not using Flash, which is not supported by the iPad.