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Alpine Surveys Retailers On Car Audio’s Future


— Integration with iPods,
iPhones, iPads and other smartphones
will be more important to the future growth of
aftermarket mobile-electronics specialists than
Internet radio, mobile digital TV, and HD Radio,
Alpine dealers believe.

Alpine surveyed its mobile-electronics specialty
dealers earlier this year during a nationwide
dealer-training tour, where 574 owners,
installers and salespeople responded to a written
survey questionnaire. The majority of the
respondents represented small single-store
retailers, although representatives of Car Toys
and regional chains, such as Al & Eds, also
responded. Multiple representative of a particular
retailer voted.

Alpine provided a list of technologies for
the dealers to rate in order of importance. Although
the company allowed for participants  to write in technologies not on the list, Alpine did not get
any substantial write-ins for any technologies not on the
list, said Steve Brown, product
promotion manager.

The technology described
by dealers as most important
to their growth in the
next 12 months was iPod/
iPhone integration, cited by
91 percent of respondents
as a “must-have technology.”
Such integration enables
consumers to control
the selection of iPod-stored
songs and videos from their
aftermarket head unit for
playback through a car audio
or car video system.

Products that integrate
Bluetooth with a car sound
system were considered a
must-have technology by 78
percent of respondents, followed
by iPad integration,
cited by 50 percent of respondents.

Other technologies were cited by less than half of respondents
as must-have technologies. BlackBerry integration
was cited by 46 percent, and 41 percent cited head
units that control an Internet radio app loaded on a connected

Next came satellite radio, cited by 38 percent, as was
integration with Droidbranded

HD Radio was described
by 29 percent as
a must-have technology,
and digital TV, either of the
FLO TV or Mobile-ATSC
variety, was cited by only
26 percent as a must-have.

Most of the technologies
not cited by a majority as
must-haves nonetheless
were cited by a plurality
of respondents as “somewhat
important.” Fortyeight
percent named satellite
radio as somewhat
important, followed by HD
Radio at 44 percent.

Next came Droid integration
at 41 percent, digital
TV at 40 percent, and
Internet radio at 38 percent.

The highest percentages of “don’t care” responses came
for digital TV (34 percent) and HD Radio (27 percent).