Friday, January 09, 2009

Internet car radio

Blaupunkt have demonstrated two internet car radios at the "Consumer Electronics Show" developed in conjunction Melbourne company MiRoamer. These have been described as the"World's first internet car radio, Aussie-style" (by Ty Pendlebury , 8 January 2009, Cnet Australia), but they require a bluetooth connection to a mobile phone to provide the Internet connection. The two radios are the Hamburg 600i (single-DIN) and New Jersey 600i (double-DIN). The smaller will cost about AU$600 in late 2009. They also have an AM/FM radio, CD and socket for USB flash memory.

Some of the radio broadcasting industry, particularly the ABC, see Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) as the future of radio. But Internet radio may well kill it off in Australia, before it starts.

The Blaupunkt units can't control an external smart device, such as an iPhone, iPpod or smart phone. The double DIN model will likely cost as much as some car dash computers. A better alternative might be a simpler device which just acts as a remote control for such a device and way to get the sound to the user, such as the Microsoft Ford Sync.

miRoamer are offering an Internet radio portal designed to make Internet radio easier to use. This has a free basic service and a premium paid service. It is not clear if the Blaupunkt radios are designed to work only with this Internet radio service, or can use others.

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