What features or technologies were in highest demand in 2011, and what do you expect for 2011?
Smartphone connectivity and integration will still lead the way in 2012. As I mentioned earlier, iPhone/iPod/Bluetooth connectivity are now “expected” feature sets. Consumers are demanding better user interfaces and seamless integration for their portable/personal devices such as smartphones. Android support will be the big buzz for 2012, and manufacturers now have to address those consumers that expect more and won’t settle for subpar performance.
Audio streaming via Bluetooth (in support of Android smartphones) was in high demand at the dealer level. We see Pandora Internet radio link as a strong feature in 2012 and expect smartphone connectivity as a key sales driver in the coming years.
In-dash navigation, satellite radio, Bluetooth and of course anything that provides iPod/iPad/iPhone connectivity led the way in 2011 for consumer preference for features on our products. For 2012, in addition to all new user-friendly UI that we think goes toe-to-toe with any system out there, we plan a number of new feature sets, including adding Bluetooth to most models, even in the CD radio line. Also the addition of Parrot Bluetooth as well as Pandora and RGB backlighting on several of the new Jensen multimedia units will continue the connectivity direction.
Content is king, so we know that today’s users want to bring their portable content into the vehicle. iPod or iPhone music playback and Pandora Internet Radio control still remain popular portable audio sources. As for in-vehicle sources, people still like the high-quality sound of HD Radio reception, plus we saw renewed interest in SiriusXM satellite radio. Integrated control of these digital technologies has been key to our successful sales of step-up products. Our two-DIN, or full-size, units with navigation continue to be in high demand from advanced users who expect a better navigation experience through a built-in solution.