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Car Radios Dock With GPS

LAS VEGAS — Car audio supplier Eclipse joined with GPS maker TomTom to offer a “best of both worlds” portable GPS that can dock directly to a car CD/radio.

The company unveiled on the eve of Internatioanl CES a car radio with a slot for a TomTom GPS that is based on the GO 510. When the TomTom is docked to the radio, it is more easily viewed by the driver and eliminates the loose wires that accompany typical portable navigation devices (PND).

“Our research showed that this is what consumers want,” said Eclipse marketing director Michael West. “The old categories are going away, such as single CD. And we think these convergence products are more consumer-focused and will definitely be the future.”

Alpine is also showing here an Alpine PND that docks to one of the company’s new in-dash car A/V products.

With Alpine’s version, when the PND docks to the car A/V, the picture can be seen on a larger, 6.5-inch pulse touch screen for easier viewing. With the Eclipse version, the driver is still viewing navigation on the TomTom’s 3.5-inch screen. Eclipse claims, however, it has an advantage by partnering with TomTom’s recognized name in GPS.

The Eclipse car CD/radio is the AVN2210P. In addition to docking with the TomTom, it has iPod control, a front-panel USB port, Bluetooth hands-free calling with an adapter, and it is satellite ready. The units will ship as a package in May at a suggested retail of $899.

Alpine’s Dock & Roll double-DIN A/V head unit works with a new Blackbird PND. The model IVA-W205 A/V receiver offers real-time traffic, stereo Bluetooth for audio streaming and hands-free calling without an adapter, AM/FM/DVD, satellite radio capability, MP3, WMA and iPod full speed. Shipping is expected in April at a target retail of $899.

Eclipse also teamed up with Bluetooth accessory-maker Parrot to offer a co-branded Bluetooth hands-free calling kit for Eclipse car radios at a suggested retail of $169.