The car audio market continues to face a challenge from the OEs, but judging from the latest crop of new products showcased at CES, it's clear the industry is still full of innovations. In the past it was the aftermarket that led carmakers to incorporate the technologies developed by the former and we enjoy various new car technologies today in large part due to aftermarket companies. Given what's happening in the car market and the general economy, it makes a lot of sense to keep your current vehicle or buy a used one and customize it with the latest gear.
Without expensive new car payments you'll probably be able to afford some cool gadgets like the ones featured here and showcased at CES.
A new touch-screen double-DIN dedicated iPod receiver? Yes! If you used the single-DIN version and wanted more, this is for you. There's no disc slot, but who needs it. Just load your Apple DMP with loads of lossless music files. There is an AM/FM tuner and you can connect USB memory devices for more entertainment options. Speaking of which, you can add HD Radio with iTunes Tagging and satellite radio as well. With the NVE-P1 the W404 can also serve as part of a nav system. This is an inexpensive source unit that you can build upon.
Clarion FZ409, FZ709.
Who needs CDs. These slot-less source units play music off your iPod or other MP3 player. The 709 has built-in Bluetooth for handsfree calling, while the 409 is Bluetooth ready. Both have OEL (Organic Electro-luminescence) Full Dot Matrix displays with white and blue illumination and are satellite radio ready.
MSRP: $229.99 and $349.99
JL Audio HD800/5
Combine the old 500/1v2 and the 300/4v2 and put it all in a new single chassis and you get the versatile HD800/5, a 500-watt x 1 and 75-watt x 4, 5-channel amp. You can also use it in a 3-channel setup. Available in April, this may be all the amp you need.
Eclipse improves on a great idea, keeping the detachable TomTom nav unit idea, but updating it and adding more features to the source unit. This definitely deserved CEA's Innovations Design and Engineering award. The unit plays CDs and DVDs as well as iPod audio and video. It's available now.
The latest double-DIN nav unit from JVC has a cool security feature, a 6.1-inch detachable faceplate. It is a DVD player as well with built in Bluetooth wireless technology and front mounted full-speed USB 2.0 and AV-input connections. I got a quick demo at the show and this flash-based system is surprisingly fast.
The new flagship model offers a voice control feature so you can fully operate the navigation system and utilize features such as entering addresses, choosing menu options and selecting points of interest. The voice control system will also operate the audio and video systems, With built-in technology by Parrot and Garmin, you're covered for Bluetooth and navigation. This top-of-the-line product does it all.
Jensen's new multimedia product features a built-in HD Radio tuner with iTunes Tagging. You can connect your iPod, add navigation, Bluetooth and satellite radio. It has a 6.5-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera input and a low price.
Audison hesis System TH K2 coro
Audison takes sound very seriously. They use the latest software and go through extensive prototyping to create their products like the new component set here. The 2-way system is comprised of a 6.5" woofer along with a 1/5" tweeter. Designed for for an audiophile and for those who
appreciate design as well.
Cobra RS 9960G
We're all worried about speeding, that is, getting caught speeding. Then there are the cameras. The XRS 9960G is a full-featured radar detector that also uses the AURA database, which stores the GPS coordinates of speed and red light cameras to give advanced warning of traps.
Part of the ib-Flat Shallow series. The TS-SW1001 utilizes Pioneer's basalt rock speaker technology (which was introduced last year) in the cone production process to deliver the essential low bass frequencies. The subwoofer has a new cone design as well that reinforces the structure to handle increased power. With a mounting depth of less than 3.25-inches deep this is the subwoofer solution for compacts.
I like Navigon's on-screen look with their realistic lane departure graphics and speed limit signs that you find in all their products. With the 8100T you get everything you'd expect from an upper-crust nav unit. You even get depth, literally. The new Panorama View uses NASA terrain data to show your route in precise topographic 3D.
Wowwee Portable Projector
We have little computers in our pockets with smart phones. Why not throw in home theater as well. What am I talking about? The Cinemin line of micro projectors. They're candy bar size and use DLP technology to throw images onto a wall or ceiling. They're compatible with iPods, iPhones and other popular mobile devices. Ridiculous! Yeah, I'm getting one.
Kenwood CarPortal KOS-A300
Have interface, will travel. You can use the KOS-A300 to connect your Microsoft Zune, iPod, iPhone, satellite radio, HD Radio and mass storage devices to just about any factory radio system. The KOS-A300 is the perfect solution for leased vehicles where replacing the factory radio system is prohibited or unwanted, or if you just don't feel like messing with your dash. You can even add Bluetooth with a separate adapter to the A300.
LG Bluetooth 2.1 Headset HBM-800 & Cradle
Some calls are private and some are for all to hear. LG lets you have it both ways with their new integrated bluetooth speakerphone and detachable headset. The cradle has an impressive 7 hours of talk time while the headset provides 4.
The Pacemaker's taking DJing portable. This 60GB audio player features two touch-wheels and an intuitive interface that allow users to blend tracks and auto beat-match at the flick of a finger. All at about 1/100th the size of a turntable. Ok, so, Dear Santa
MSI U115 Notebook
12 hours of battery life is enough to impress on its own. MSI's latest notebook achieves power savings and performance with the hybrid combination of both solid state disk and conventional hard drive. It packs a 10" widescreen with 2GB of memory into a 2.4 lb. package. Better than my last PC laptop.
GiiNii Movit Mini
I love Skype. Now Movit Mini lets you bring along Skype communication wherever you want. It'll connect to any Wi-Fi network to make and receive VoIP calls. The Mini rocks a big 4.3-inch touch-screen for calling, net-surfing or games. It's also a media-player and camcorder.
The retractable boom mic on the Boom Bluetooth headset means audio fidelity, even in noisy or windy places. Interchangeable earpieces and a pivoting ear bud mean comfort. A microphone right next to your mouth means you don't have to talk so flippin' loud anymore--unless you're trying to draw attention to yourself with this headset on!
The iPod isn't just for music playback. The iCapture is a handheld stereo recorder that docks and records directly to an iPod through a pair of built-in microphones. You can listen to recordings from a jam session, lecture, meeting or a pithy note to self on your iPod or transfer it to your computer.
Eton Solarlink FR600
If you're a paranoid that worries about being a victim of a disaster, here ya go. It's combo solar power and handcrank fuels a radio that receives AM/FM, Shortwave and NOAA weather channels. It also has rechargeable NiMH batteries, a flashlight and a USB device charger.
LG's Watch Phone is straight from Get Smart, but it's no joke. The device features 3G high-speed data transmission, advanced voice recognition and a built-in speaker. The quad-band wrist-mounter sports a 1.43-inch screen.