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Kenwood Readies Affordably Priced Car-Nav Alternative


Kenwood next
year will launch its first A/V-multimedia head
units that integrate with a navigation app on
an iPhone, giving cost-conscious consumers
a lower cost alternative to in-dash navigation
units that start at a minimum of $700 in the market,
said senior VP Keith Lehmann.

Kenwood will team with Garmin to develop
head-unit compatibility with Garmin’s iPhone
navigation app, Lehmann told TWICE.

In-dash navigation sales have fallen this year
because of the economy and because of navigation
apps for smartphones, he said.

Consumer Electronics Association statistics
show factory-level sales of in-dash navigation systems
(excluding navigation-ready A/V-multimedia
head units) fell 2.4 percent to 115,241 units
from January through August. Navigation-ready
A/V-multimedia head units rose 55.7 percent to
246,120 during that time, but the stats didn’t mention
sales of navigation add-ons to the head units.

Kenwood’s new A/V head units will be especially
useful for 12-volt specialists that don’t want
a potential navigation customer to walk because
of price and don’t stock portable navigation devices
to save the sale, Lehmann said.

Kenwood will follow JVC and Pioneer into
the market with head units that integrate with
smartphone nav apps.

At International CES, Full Power launched an
upgraded Motion X Cloud-based iPhone navigation
app to display maps and turn-by-turn driving
instructions with voice prompts on JVC’s largescreen
A/V units while a vehicle is in motion. The
app carries a $20/year subscription.

The Motion X app automatically recognizes
JVC head units and reformats maps and other
information for display on the larger JVC
screens. The app works with JVC A/V head
units starting at around $449.

Also this year, Pioneer launched its AppRadio,
a double-DIN AM/FM RDS head unit
whose capacitive touchscreen can be used
to control and display selected iPhone/iPod
Touch apps, including Pandora Radio and a
Cloud-based navigation service.

The $399-everyday AppRadio is promoted
as the first car entertainment system — OEM or
aftermarket — to use the iPhone as its primary
source of content.