One of the newcomers to this year's SEMA show is Raytel, a subsidiary of German company Funkwerk, which is using the event to launch five new products: The Ego Drive, Ego Talk, Ego Flash Ego Look, and Ego Cup.
Ego Drive, the flagship product in the lineup, is a combined portable and dockable GPS navigation and multimedia device with a wireless rotary remote control. The device features a 4.3-inch color touch screen with 3D map view, and it comes with text-to-speech functionality to read out road names during turn-by-turn route guidance. For multimedia, the Ego Drive supports MP3 and WAV audio files and MPEG-4 video, as well as JPEG and TIFF files via its picture viewer.
When used in portable mode, all audio plays via the device's built-in speaker, but the output can be routed through the car's speakers when the Ego Drive is docked in its dashboard cradle, called the iGrip (has no one patented that name yet?). For communications, the Ego Drive can also be used as a Bluetooth hands-free calling interface, and when it hits the market early next yearl--according to Ego staff at SEMA--will be able to read out incoming text messages using text-to-speech technology. Like the Panasonic CN-GP50U also unveiled this week, the Ego Drive also comes with the ability to play streamed Bluetooth audio via the A2DP profile. Raytel says it will ship in January with a price of about $800.
Further down the product lineup, the Ego Look ($349) and Ego Flash ($249) offer the same Bluetooth hands-free calling features in different wrappers. With a color display, an MP3 player, a photo-viewer and a wireless remote control, the Ego Look looks like a cheaper, non-iPod compatible version of Harman Kardon's Drive+Play 2. Both devices can copy over cell phone address books and call records, and both support voice dialing when paired to suitably equipped cell phones.
The Ego Talk ($170) and Ego Cup ($120) are basic Bluetooth hands-free speakerphones, which can be paired with up to eight cell phones.