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Voxx Talks Up Mobility At CES

Las Vegas — Voxx International made mobility a key theme in revealing its key International CES product launches, which range from headphones and portable Bluetooth speakers to new in-vehicle products.

For the car, the company expanded its range of GPS navigation modules that plug into OEM vehicle displays, and it added new features and services to its Car Connector subscription-based telematics service. It also unveiled its first combined lane-departure and collision-avoidance warning system with integrated DVR.

The combined DVR/collision-avoidance/lane-departure system, shipping at a suggested $699, sounds a warning when drivers get too close to the rear of another car or veer over road lines. The built-in DVR will record the events.

Under the Advent brand for new-car dealers, Voxx added a GPS add-on module for select 2014-2015 Fords with the MyTouch Sync system. With the number of modules now at four, Voxx offers compatibility with “dozens and dozens” of car models made by GM, Ford, Chrysler, and Cadillac, said Voxx Electronics president Tom Malone. They’re priced from a suggested $1,200 to $1,499, and their maps appear on OEM touchscreens. Features can be controlled from existing factory controls.

The nav modules are targeted to consumers who prefer the convenience of in-dash navigation but don’t want to spend thousands of dollars for a new-car options package that includes GPS and a variety of features they don’t want.

In telematics, the company plans April availability of its Car Connection 2.0 service, which will be available through a current 3G-equipped Car Connection device to offer more OEM-type telematics services. The $169 device plugs into a vehicle’s OBDII databus port.

Voxx’s current service delivers remote vehicle access and monitoring from a cellphone, fuel and vehicle-health reports, text-blocking, and other services, including speed monitoring, at $9.99/month. With the 2.0 service at the same subscription price, consumers will also get automatic crash-notification, roadside assistance, stolen-vehicle tracking and recovery, and an expanded roster of 19 insurance companies, up from three, that offer insurance-policy discounts up to about 15 percent for access to driving habits.

To bring down the price of Car Connection, the company introduced a $99 model that lacks cellular but adds Bluetooth to use a phone as a cellular modem. No monthly service fee is charged with this device. It’s due in about two months.

Expected in mid-year, a Wi-Fi/LTE version of the Car Connection device will turn a vehicle into a mobile hot spot as well as offer 2.0 services. Pricing hasn’t been set. A $99 annual service fee will entitle users to an unspecified amount of wireless data.

In a brand-new category for the company, Voxx launched the Baby On Board alerting system to alert adults if they left their child behind in a child’s car seat. The $59 system uses a pressure senor that attached under the child-seat cushion. Bluetooth LE triggers a warning to a keyring-mounted dongle when the dongle moves out of Bluetooth range. It will be out “shortly,” Malone said.

The Baby on Board device will also talk to a Car Connection device to alert a parent by text message that a caregiver left a child behind.

For the car under the Jensen, brand, Voxx launched its first two Jensen-brand in-dash head units with HDMI/MHL ports.

The ports on the two navigation/multimedia head units make it possible for the heads’ touchscreens to mirror the displays of HDMI-connected Android and Apple smartphones. The heads’ touchscreens can then be used to control the navigation and music-library apps of an HDMI-connected iPhone via Bluetooth SPP (serial port profile). The touchscreens will also control most Android phone apps via Bluetooth HID (human interface device) profile.

The two in-dash multimedia/navigation receivers are priced at a suggested $399 and ship in mid-April.

For use outside the car, the company launched 808-brand headphones, 808- and AR-branded indoor/outdoor Bluetooth speakers, AR-branded power banks, and two RCA thin-film TV antennas.

Here’s what was announced for 808 and AR:

808: New products consist of three Bluetooth speakers, two wired headphones and two Bluetooth headphones.

Headphones include the Performer, available in a $99-suggested Bluetooth version and $79 wired version, both designed in collaboration with professional DJs and sound engineers.

808’s Shox line of headphones gets a wired on-ear model and a Bluetooth version, both with ball-and-socket system that offers full 360-degree pivoting of the soft-leather ear cups. The models are the $49 HPA150 Shox BT Bluetooth-enabled model and the wired $34 HPA130.

Three new portable 808 Bluetooth speakers include two Hex NRG speakers inspired by the size and shape of energy-drink cans. They are the $59 SP251 808 NRG GLO and $49 SP250 808 NRG. The NRG GLO adds built-in 16-LED light ring with different lighting modes to choose.

Acoustic Research: Four indoor/outdoor Bluetooth speakers, priced from a suggested $99 to $219, start with the $99 Pasadena mono speaker, which can be paired with a second Pasadena to deliver stereo. It features architectural styling popularized by Frank Lloyd Wright and stands 9.5 inches in height.

At $219, the AC-only Hatteras Bluetooth stereo speaker features a lighthouse-inspired design, 40-watt output with less than 1 percent THD, and 360-degree LED lighting.

Also new are two portable AR power banks for mobile devices at $24 and $29.

RCA: Two AIR thin-film TV antennas feature patented omnidirectional reception technology to pick up signals coming in from all 360 degrees around a house. It delivers substantially higher gain than any other film antenna on the market, the company said. One model is the $69 passive ANT2100F, and the other is the $89 amplified ANT2150F.