Windows Embedded 7 outed, gets Silverlight, more
At the SAE Convergence 2010 exhibition on Tuesday, Microsoft revealed the new Windows Embedded Automotive 7 is now available to its car and in-vehicle entertainment partners. The new software brings with it enhanced speech commands, touch input, a Bluetooth connection with phones and other devices as well as access to maps, music, navigation and third-party apps. Silverlight is now integrated, letting partners create 2D or 3D graphics on their desktops and have them quickly be deployed on the car platform.
Alpine, Nokia, CE4A create Terminal Mode tech
Car audio maker Alpine on Wednesday revealed a partnership with Nokia and CE4A, a group of car makers working on standardizing the integration of mobile devices into cars. It will allow users to access phone functions and Nokia's Ovi services that include NAVTEQ-powered navigation as well as data-network dependent widgets on the in-car entertainment system. The connected technology is called Terminal Mode and will allow for the safe and legal operation of most, if not all, of the smartphone's services.
Alpine outs single-DIN head unit with Bluetooth
At a booth tour of Alpine’s new products at CES, we learned the company has released its first single-DIN car audio receiver with built-in Bluetooth support, the CDE-103BT. The functionality is powered by Parrot and users had to previously rely on a separate $180 accessory to add Bluetooth support to their Alpine head units. A dedicated ‘Phone’ button on the receiver’s faceplate lets users connect to their compatible phones.
Alpine W404 Ships
Alpine this afternoon said it has started shipping the iXA-W404, its first touchscreen media head-end for cars to occupy 2 DIN slots. The device centers on a 4.3-inch touchscreen that lets users navigate the media content of any dockable iPhone or iPod, including through quick skipping tricks for larger collections. It can also play video when the vehicle isn't moving.
Scion redesigns xB stereo
Carmaker and Toyota offshoot Scion announced on Wednesday it is putting in a redesigned base head unit to all 2010 Scion xBs without raising the car's price. Compared to the head unit it replaces, both of which are manufactured by Pioneer, the new stereo has an organic electroluminescent (OEL) display, a USB connection and a subwoofer RCA output. The USB port is located in the center consoler, along with a cable for iPods and an 3.5mm aux-in jack. Pioneer also integrated an Advanced Sound Retriever (ASR) software into the head unit that aims to restore the full range of a compressed digital audio track.
Alpine ships PND-K3msn
Alpine Electronics on Tuesday notified the press that its latest in-car GPS system, the PND-K3msn is now available for purchase. The unit's 4.3-inch touchscreen can display real-time traffic, weather, gas price and movie showtime information thanks to its compatibility with the MSN Direct service, but is otherwise identical to the company's existing PND-K3 unit. As such, it has text-to-speech functionality, Bluetooth pairing with compatible devices, and a highway junction view that makes it harder to miss turn-offs at complex intersections.
Pioneer looks for partners
Japan's Pioneer is searching for a partner in the auto electronics business, according to Nikkei Business Daily. The company is currently said to be in negotiations with three main contenders -- Alpine, Clarion and Mitsubishi Electric -- in a bid to work on new auto electronics, such as car navigation systems. The company's reputation may also steer it further into the realm of audio, though no information to this effect has been revealed.
Alpine intros receivers
Alpine took the opportunity at the CES show to introduce three new head units that will soon be available on the market, with the iXA-W404 and nearly identical iDA-X305 and iDA-X303. Neither has a traditional optical disk drive, relying instead on digital media as their soruce files. The W404 has a double DIN form factor in order to better fit into the dashboards of modern cars, while the latter uses a more traditional single-DIN layout. The Digital Media Station iXA-W404 has an iPhone-like interface, where users can glide their fingers over the 4.3-inch touchscreen to navigate their music libraries.
Alpine preps PND-K3 GPS
In addition to its iPod- and iTunes-enabled stereos, Alpine has laid bare its new PND-K3 GPS units, which will be shown off at CES 2008. Each has a 4.3-inch touchscreen, and comes pre-loaded with maps of Canada and the US including Alaska, Hawaii, and territories such as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Over six million points of interest are featured, and music can be played back through the navigators' SD slots. Menus are animated and can be given custom colors.
Alpine iTunes Tag Stereo
Alpine will soon release a trio of new head-end units for vehicles geared primarily around the iPod, the company has unintentionally revealed through a brochure (PDF) posted online. The iDA-X100, based on the earlier X001, will be one of the first car stereos to support iTunes Tagging. When listening to specific HD Radio stations through the X100, listeners will be able to flag songs and use an attached iPod to sync this information with a computer, creating a playlist of songs to be bought through the iTunes Store. It can also play audio directly from newer iPods through a USB connection, including the iPod touch.