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ALPINE ELECTRONICS ships second-generation blackbird portable navigation device


TORRANCE, Calif. – Alpine Electronics of America, Inc., the industry-leading manufacturer of automotive mobile media solutions, is now shipping its second-generation Blackbird™ (PMD-B200), the company’s new portable navigation device (PND). The new Blackbird is loaded with upgraded features that improve the driving experience including a built-in Bluetooth® module, a built-in traffic tuner and the flexibility to use the unit as either a portable or fixed unit with one of Alpine’s AV head units.

“Consumer demand for car navigation is expected to triple by 2012, and the market continues to get more competitive,” said Stephen Witt, vice president, Marketing, Alpine Electronics. “The PMD-B200 has new features, such as Bluetooth compatibility, which consumers are beginning to expect in a PND.”

The PMD-B200 runs on the Microsoft Windows CE platform and comes with a built-in flash hard drive for preloaded NAVTEQ® map data of the United States and Canada (including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) and 6 million NAVTEQ Points of Interest (POIs). The maps can be viewed four different ways including 3D mapping, 2D full map, split map and turn-by-turn arrow view. These maps are accompanied by full turn-by-turn voice-delivered instructions, which are available in English, French and Spanish.

The PMD-B200 has a built-in FM radio data system (RDS) traffic tuner that, when used with the NAVTEQ Traffic RDS™ service subscription, will keep drivers updated with changes in traffic flow and incident information such as construction, accidents and congestion levels (traffic flow and incident data vary by service area). A new Traffic Events List sorts traffic incidents by distance, name or location along the current route. This traffic service is available in 50 major U.S. markets plus Toronto, Canada (built in 90-day free trial, with optional subscription for $60 per year).

The Blackbird lets users take their favorite tunes on the road through an SD card slot that is capable of playback of up to 4GB of stored WMA/MP3 music files. When Blackbird is used in the supplied windshield cradle, music and driving directions can be transferred to the car’s stereo through the built-in FM modulator. New to this second-generation Blackbird is a built-in Bluetooth module. When connected to a Bluetooth enabled mobile device, users can answer phone calls through a one-touch “Call” button. “Phone book,” “Dialed calls,” “Missed calls” and “Received calls” are all displayed on the PMD-B200 (feature capabilities vary by phone make and model). An on-screen 12-key pad can be used to dial out, or users can scroll through the Blackbird’s address book or POI list to find the desired phone number.

The PMD-B200 has a large 4-inch wide LCD touch-screen display. The entire unit measures 6.1 inches x 2.9 inches x 1.2 inches (145mm x 74mm x 29mm) and weighs 8.6 oz. (244 grams). Alpine’s exclusive Graphical User Interface (GUI for Drivers™) and widescreen graphics deliver at a glance on-screen driving directions, higher resolution display and larger touch-screen buttons. New to the PMD-B200 is POI Name Keyword Search, which searches all POI names that include the entered keyword.

A unique feature of the PMD-B200 is its ability to be docked inside of Alpine’s IVA-W205 2-DIN in-dash head unit, creating a complete audio/video/navigation (AVN) system. The IVA-W205 is a robust DVD/CD/MP3/WMA AV head unit with a faceplate that slides down to a 90-degree angle, revealing the DVD/CD slot and a separate slot for the Blackbird. Once docked inside, the Blackbird becomes a dedicated navigation system that does not take processing power away from the IVA-W205, allowing the IVA-W205 to focus on the audio and video functions. All the user control functions on the Blackbird are automatically transferred to the IVA-W205’s 6.5-inch QVGA touch screen monitor. This synergistic combination of the Blackbird and the IVA-W205 has been dubbed the “Dock ‘n’ Roll” system and won the top honors for the 2007 CES Best of Innovations in the Mobile Electronics category.

The Blackbird unit comes with a cradle, mounting plate for the cradle, cigarette lighter power adapter, a carrying case and wiping cloth, a USB cable, a replaceable polymer battery, owner’s manual CD and quick reference guide. A separate externally mountable GPS antenna and microphone are included for use with the IVA-W205.

Pricing and Availability
Blackbird (PMD-B200) is now available at suggested retail index of $750. The IVA-W205 is available at a suggested retail index of $1000. Both units are available at authorized Alpine retailers. Traffic service through the NAVTEQ Traffic RDS service is now available for an annual subscription fee of $60.


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