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Alpine Expands OEM-Look Nav, Adds B’tooth SPP


Alpine is launching the industry’s first
aftermarket navigation system with 8-inch screen and
expanding its selection of Perfect FIT (Factory Integration
Technology) installation kits, which deliver an OElook
installation for the navigation system.

The company is also improving its head-unit connectivity
to smartphones other than the iPhone.

The new nav system is the INE-Z928HD audio/video/
navigation (AVN) DVD-receiver, said to be the first
AVN with full 8-inch screen, which offers WVGA resolution.
Despite its size, the nav system fits into a standard
double-DIN dash opening, the company said. It
will be available through retailers and expediters.

The INE-Z928HD is one of several new head units
that will be Alpine’s first to combine Bluetooth’s serial
port profile (SPP) and Pandora’s communications
protocol to wirelessly control a Pandora Internet radio
app running on a BlackBerry or Android smartphone.
Via Bluetooth SPP, the head controls such Pandora
functions as play/pause, skip, thumbs up/down, channel
selection and station creation. Bluetooth AVRCP
(audio video remote control profile), in contrast, controls
only track skip and play/pause.

The nav system is also one of several new head
units that navigate music on USB-connected Android
phones via song, artist, album, playlist, genre and composer
when the phone is placed in mass-storage mode.
From the phones, music streams over USB cable in native
MP3, WMA and AAC format for decoding.

In previous Alpine heads, consumers could navigate
Android phone-stored music only by file folder and
song up/down.

The nav system also controls Pandora on a USBconnected
iPhone, features built-in HD Radio and
connects to the new universal SiriusXM tuner. The HD
Radio adds a new Alpine feature called Smart Reception
Management, which lets users manage preferences
for tuning analog and digital radio signals. For
example, one setting lets the head automatically tune
to an HD Radio station’s main analog-FM signal when
the station’s lower strength digital-only multicast channel
drops out.

In the nav system, iTunes tagging is available via the
HD Radio tuner and SiriusXM tuner. The INE-Z928HD also features noise-reducing 4-volt preamp outputs and
ability to tailor response to individual vehicles.

The navigation platform features 3D maps and free lifetime
RDS-based TMC traffic updates from Clear Channel.

To accommodate an 8-inch screen into vehicles, Alpine
is launching Perfect FIT installation kits for 10 vehicle platforms
that account for more than 2 million new-car sales
each year, the company said.

The kits feature vehicle-specific wiring harnesses and
installation accessories for direct plug-and-play connection
between the nav system and factory wiring. The kits
also feature dash panels designed to match the shape,
color and texture of a specific vehicle’s dash. The kits are
promoted as a better looking alternative to third-party install
kits for specific vehicles because they’re designed to
fit only one brand of head unit, not multiple brands.

The nav system and install kits will be available in May.
Pricing was unavailable.

In 2011, Alpine offered Perfect FIT kits only for the 2010
through 2011 Toyota Siena and 2010 through 2011 Camaro.
The kits were designed for use with a pair of Alpine
double-DIN A/V-navigation units.

Also new is the CDE-HD138BT CD receiver with HD
Radio and Bluetooth SPP, which enables the head unit
to wirelessly control the Pandora app in a Bluetooth-connected
Android or BlackBerry smartphone. Controlled
Pandora functions include station creation and thumbs
up/down ratings. The head also features iPod-controlling
USB port, HD Radio with Smart Reception Management,
and connection to a universal SiriusXM tuner. iTunes Tagging
is available through both the HD Radio and SiriusXM
tuners. It ships in March at a price that was unavailable.

The company’s most powerful amp ever is the MRXM240,
a mono amp rated at 2,400 watts using CEA-2006
specs. The MRX-M240 can be added to factory systems
because of its auto-sensing, four-channel speaker-level inputs.
It works with Alpine’s RUX-KNOB subwoofer-level
controller. It ships in March at a price that wasn’t available.

Also new is the VPX-B104R visual parking assist sensor
system (VPASS) and HCE-C104 universal rear camera,
expanding Alpine’s driver-assist selection.

The VPX-B104R consists of a black box brain and four
sensors that mount on the rear bumper. It integrates with
Alpine rear-camera systems to help drivers back up into
parking spots. The VPX-B104R provides audible and visual
warnings of objects behind the car and next to it. When
the rearview image is projected onto an in-dash screen
sold separately, visual warnings are displayed as a threecolor
grid (green/yellow/red) overlaid onto the parking
space lines to indicate the distance between the vehicle
and its surrounding objects. When used with the HCEC104
backup camera, the VPASS system automatically
switches the camera from normal to ground view when
within one foot of an object behind the vehicle.

The new driver-assist products ship in March. Pricing
was unavailable.