There are plenty of ways of hooking up an iPod to a car stereo: generic auxiliary input jacks will do the trick (if you're desperate); a connection via USB might transfer some data to the head unit display; while dedicated full-speed iPod harnesses have been the best option to date. Well, now there's a car stereo that's tailor-made for Apple fanboys. The Alpine IDA-X001--getting its debut here at CES 2007--is so iPod-centric that it doesn't even have a CD slot. Instead, it has a USB input to allow drivers to connect digitally to their fifth-generation iPods. … Read more
In all the brouhaha of Sony's announcements on Blu-ray burners and Internet-connected TV, it's easy to miss the real news from the technology giant at CES: the unveiling of four new single-DIN stereo head units. Following the trend to USB inputs we've seen elsewhere, three of Sony's new stereos come with USB 2.0 ports built into the faceplates. Although, unlike new stereos we have seen this week from Pioneer, the Sony players will only play back files from a thumbdrive or from a digital walkman (not from iPods, Zunes, or other digital music players, according … Read more
The honeymoon of portable and in-dash navigation devices continues here at CES 2007. On Sunday, we brought you news of Eclipse's AVN2210p, and today we had a close-up of Alpine's IVA-W205, which combines with the Blackbird PMD B200 portable GPS unit in a unique way. Instead of requiring drivers to attach the portable unit to the front of the installed cradle, (as per the Eclipse unit), the IVA-W205 actually swallows the portable navigation unit, with the latter slotting in cartridge-like behind the installed unit's fold-up screen. Also new on the PMD B200 is its built-in, Bluetooth, hands-free, … Read more
Automakers aren't the only ones using the 2007 Detroit Auto Show to show off new products; Alpine also launched its new Imprint technology at the show. Imprint isn't a new car stereo or amplifier--instead, it's part methodology and part technology for designing the perfect sound to fit any car. Alpine researcher Alan Trevena, who demonstrated the system for me, said that Imprint takes a lot of the guess work out of designing a car audio system. Instead of relying on a "golden ear," an expert who sets the audio parameters based on his or her … Read more
First, Ford went back in time to redesign its Mustang. Now, the company travels back to the 1960s yet again to design the Ford Airstream concept. Ford took Airstream along on the trip to build this new crossover car, although to me it looks more like a minivan. Designers of the concept were influenced by 2001: A Space Oddyssey for the interior, which includes organically shaped podlike seats. The most notable element of the interior is the 360-degree video screen, which can show movies, video games, or ambient displays, such as a lava lamp. Did I mention this car is … Read more
Opinions differ wildly when it comes to automotive design, but no one could deny the sheer beauty of Rolls-Royce's new Phantom Drophead Coupe. The second car in Rolls-Royce's rejuvenated model lineup, the Drophead takes the elegance of the Phantom and adds exterior elements that make it more sporty and downright lovely. The most obvious elements are the brushed steel hood, which creates a nice two-tone effect with the body, and the teak cover for the convertible top, reminiscent of a Chris-Craft powerboat.
Ostensibly a convertible version of the Phantom, the Drophead Coupe shares very little with its hardtop … Read more
The long-anticipated introduction of Smart to the United States is at hand, with the Daimler-Chrysler-owned small-car maker showing off its 2008 ForTwo car at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show. Although only a two-seater, the ForTwo features 12 cubic feet of cargo capacity. It's only 8 feet 10 inches long and can be parked perpendicular to the curb where other cars have to park parallel. The most powerful model uses a three cylinder engine, which pumps out 84 horsepower, not exactly astounding, but it gets more than 40mpg. Its most interesting power-train tech feature is a five-speed manual transmission with … Read more
This blog is all about things we crave, and what could be more craveworthy than the Maybach 62S? It sat there at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show, penned off in a small booth all by itself. From the outside, it looks like pure evil, ready to devour unsuspecting motorists in the darkness of desert highways. The inside is a whole different story. It looks like heaven. When I die, I want to be buried there. It's more sumptuous than any pharaonic burial chamber.
Powered by a 543 horsepower V-12, the regular Maybach 62 is no slouch. But the Maybach … Read more
Alpine is using CES 2007 to launch the next generation Blackbird portable navigation device. The Blackbird PMD B200 improves on the first-generation device with live-traffic capabilities via a built-in Navteq tuner that picks up RDS data of live traffic flow and incidents. This information is then projected onto the device's preload maps to alert drivers to hotspots in real time. Owners of the PMD B200 get a free 90-day trial of the traffic service, after which it costs $60 for a year's subscription. Other navigation enhancements to the second generation Blackbird include an increased number of points of … Read more
In-dash navigation and entertainment systems are great if you're the driver, but not so much fun for the front passenger. Not only do those riding shotgun have their navigational responsibilities usurped by an electronic processor, they're also forced to wait until the car is stopped to watch movies or even program in a destination.
There is a good reason behind this, of course--drivers can't have the distraction of a movie playing while racing along in the fast lane of the freeway, and punching in a destination on the touch screen is a dangerous diversion from the road. … Read more