updated 09:20 am EST, Thu January 11, 2007
Harman Kardon GPS and iPod
Audio accessory maker harman/kardon at CES introduced a pair of devices made for travelers. The Drive + Play II (pictured) represents a major upgrade to the earlier in-car music control adapter and universalizes the once iPod-only mounting kit to include direct menu navigation for other media players, including Microsoft's Zune and most jukeboxes known to work with PlaysForSure music stores. Its 3.5-inch screen now displays full color instead of the earlier monochrome and features Harman Net, an expansion port system that optionally integrates the Bluetooth hands-free calling and Sirius satellite radio. Software for the Drive + Play has also been revitalized to streamline listening during long trips: an owner can search a category with the wireless control knob, shift the emphasis of random playback towards diversity or similarity, or let the unit create dynamic channels that automatically include relevant songs. The company ships its second-edition car kit in March at a price of $400.
Click through for a photo as well as news of harman/kardon's first GPS unit.
Simultaneously introduced during the expo is the previously revealed Guide + Play GPS-500, harman/kardon's first venture into GPS navigation. The receiver bears a 4-inch touchscreen and is equally tailored to handheld and in-car use, its creator says. Media playback is a core component of the design and includes support for media rarely seen or heard in mapping units, including protected Windows Media songs from online music stores and MPEG-4 video. Storage is provided through 2GB of internal flash and is expandable with SD cards as large as 4GB. The device runs as long as 5 hours on battery power or for an entire drive using a bundled 12-volt car power adapter. The GPS-500 can be loaded with data by both Macs and Windows PCs through cards or a USB port and is due to ship by March for $500.